Fortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth by Terry AlfordFortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth by Terry Alford

Fortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth

byTerry Alford

Hardcover | March 25, 2015

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With a single shot from a pistol small enough to conceal in his hand, John Wilkes Booth catapulted into history on the night of April 14, 1865. The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln stunned a nation that was just emerging from the chaos and calamity of the Civil War, and thepresident's untimely death altered the trajectory of postwar history. But to those who knew Booth, the event was even more shocking - for no one could have imagined that this fantastically gifted actor and well-liked man could commit such an atrocity. In Fortune's Fool, Terry Alford provides the first comprehensive look at the life of an enigmatic figure whose life has been overshadowed by his final, infamous act. Tracing Booth's story from his uncertain childhood in Maryland, characterized by a difficult relationship with his famous actorfather, to his successful acting career on stages across the country, Alford offers a nuanced picture of Booth as a public figure, performer, and deeply troubled man. Despite the fame and success that attended Booth's career - he was billed at one point as "the youngest star in the world" - he foundhimself consumed by the Confederate cause and the desire to help the South win its independence. Alford reveals the tormented path that led Booth to conclude, as the Confederacy collapsed in April 1865, that the only way to revive the South and punish the North for the war would be to murder Lincoln- whatever the cost to himself or others. The textured and compelling narrative gives new depth to the familiar events at Ford's Theater and the aftermath that followed, culminating in Booth's capture and death at the hands of Union soldiers. Based on original research into government archives, historical libraries, and family records, Fortune's Fool offers the definitive portrait of John Wilkes Booth.
Terry Alford is Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College. He is the author of Prince Among Slaves, which was made into a PBS documentary in 2007.
Title:Fortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes BoothFormat:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:March 25, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195054121

ISBN - 13:9780195054125

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. "Kiss My Bumbelbee"2. The Muffin3. Lions and Foxes4. The Union As It Was5. Shining in the Rough6. Life's Fitful Fever7. A Band of Brothers8. The Fiery Furnace9. Come Weal or Woe10. This One Mad Act11. Exit Booth12. The Last DitchEpilogue A Green and Narrow BedNotes on SourcesAcknowledgmentsIndex