Comments on The Assassin’s Accomplice by Kate Clifford Larson

Posted on this Sunday, September 7, 2008 12:24 by caw
Filed Under Books | 4 Comments


The Assassin’s Accomplice is an historical account of Mary Surratt’s involvement in the plot to murder Abraham Lincoln. As a result of her actions and a largely incompetent defense at the trial, she would become the first woman to be executed by the US Government.

There was significant controversy surrounding her hanging both before and after the event. Attempts to have Andrew Johnson (Lincoln’s Vice President) commute the sentence to life in prison failed. After the hanging, there were numerous attempts to rewrite the history of the conspiracy and subsequent trial. Indeed, many of the participants in the trial would spend the rest of their lives justifying their actions.

The book draws heavily from Government and personal records. The author presents Mary Surratt as a strong, intelligent woman who knowingly and actively participated in the conspiracy.

I got this as an audiobook. The narrator did a good job. She didn’t speak in a monotone, she didn’t try to create distinct voices for each of the participants in the story, and she didn’t try to use an accent for the people from the South. If you like historical accounts and/or are interested in the Civil War, this book is worth reading.

Larson, Kate Clifford. The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln. New York: Basic Books, 2008.


4 Responses to “Comments on The Assassin’s Accomplice by Kate Clifford Larson”

  1. Herb Swingle on November 2nd, 2008 07:17

    Hello,I am a retired history teacher and I listened to you on C span about your book “The assassins accomplice”.I am a civil war buff and a true story writer.I have some questons to ask you about the assassination.Thanks,Herb Swingle

  2. Herb Swingle on November 2nd, 2008 07:21

    Was there a stage hand at Fords theatre that came up and placed an American flag under Lincoln’s head to comfort him?

  3. caw on November 2nd, 2008 13:01

    I’m not the author of the book, Kate Larson is. I’m not a Civil War expert but I don’t recall hearing about anyone using an American flag for a pillow.

  4. Herb Swingle on November 9th, 2008 07:15

    This book is fantastic for the historian that wants to get into another topic about the civil war.A fresh look at something that is not a battle.I have read the points that the critics make,but for some it looks like the author has invaded their own personal agenda!

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