The Darkest Dawn

The Darkest Dawn

Lincoln, Booth, and the Great American Tragedy
Thomas Goodrich
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 08/01/2006
Format: Paperback 20 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-21889-6
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2006 Kansas Notable Book List

While waves of laughter echoed through the theater, James Ferguson kept his eyes focused on Abraham Lincoln. Although the president joined the crowd with a ‘hearty laugh,’ his interest seemingly lay more with someone below. With his right elbow resting on the arm of his chair and his chin lying carelessly on his hand, Lincoln parted one of the flags nearby that he might see better.

As the laughter subsided, Harry Hawk stood on the stage alone with his back to the presidential box. Before he could utter another word, a sharp crack sounded. As the noise echoed throughout the otherwise silent theater, many thought that it was part of the play. But just as quickly, most knew it was not." —from Chapter Twelve

Among the hundreds of books published about the assassination of our 16th president, this is an exceptional volume.... [It captures] a you-are-there feeling...." —Frank J. Williams, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, founding Chair of The Lincoln Forum, and member of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission

It was one of the most tragic events in American history: The famous president, beloved by many, reviled by some, murdered while viewing a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington. The frantic search for the perpetrators. The nation in mourning. The solemn funeral train. The conspirators brought to justice. Coming just days after the surrender of the Confederate Army at Appomattox, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln has become etched in the national consciousness like few other events. The president who had steered the nation through its bloodiest crisis was cut down before the end, just as it appeared that the bloodshed was over. The story has been told many times, but rarely with the immediacy of The Darkest Dawn. Thomas Goodrich brings to his narrative the care of the historian and the flair of the fiction writer. The result is a gripping account, filled with detail and as fresh as today’s news.

Author Bio

Thomas Goodrich is author of Black Flag (IUP, 1995) and The Day Dixie Died: Southern Occupation, 1865–1866 (with Debra Goodrich). He lives in Topeka, Kansas.


“"Among the hundreds of books published about the assassination of our 16th president, this is an exceptional volume." —Frank J. Williams, founding Chair of The Lincoln Forum ". . . This book moves at high speed, is tremendously exciting and true to the core. It is a priceless observation of America in a time of horrendous challenge. Thomas Goodrich deserves high praise for his achievement." —The Washington Times A gripping and detailed account of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, told with the care of the historian and the flair of the fiction writer.”

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The Omen
1. Three Electric Words
2. The White City
3. The Last Man
4. Star of Glory
5. The President and the Player
6. Sic Semper Tyrannis
7. Towards an Indefinite Shore
8. The Clown and the Sphinx
9. One Bold Man
10. A Night to Remember
11. Terror on Lafayette Park
12. The Last Bullet
13. Murder in the Streets
14. A Spirit So Horrible
15. The Darkest Dawn
16. Hemp and Hell
17. This Sobbing Day
18. Black Easter
19. A Double Disaster
20. In Dungeons Dreadful
21. The Wrath of God and Man
22. The Curse of Cain
23. The Mid-week Sabbath
24. Oh! Abraham Lincoln!
25. The Fox and the Hounds
26. Blade of Fate
27. The Bad Hand
28. The Hate of Hate
29. The Heart of Israel
30. Dust to Dust
31. Old Scores
32. The Living Dead
33. The Most Dreadful Fate
34. Beads on a String
Epilogue: The Haunted Stage