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Nov 29, 2009 10:30 am

The First Assassin

Thanksgiving is over, so it’s time to think of Christmas gifts. I recommend The First Assassin, a first novel by National Review writer and editor John J. Miller. A competent thriller and easy read, it's about a supposed assassination attempt on President Lincoln in 1861. The book captures the feeling of a sleepy Washington, D.C., as it woke up to the fact that war was imminent. I can’t confirm its accuracy, but clearly the description of the city, with its unfinished Capitol and one-third-built Washington Monument, is meticulously drawn. Miller’s picture of Lincoln is not particularly flattering. At the end, Miller lists some of the nonfiction books he drew upon, which include Reveille in Washington by Margaret Leech and Runaway Slaves by John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger.

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