Good Brother, Bad Brother : The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth

by James Giblin


Edwin Booth and his younger brother John Wilkes Booth were, in many ways, two of a kind. They were among America’s finest actors, having inherited their father’s commanding stage presence along with his penchant for alcohol and impulsive behavior. In other respects, the two brothers were very different. Edwin was more introspective, while John was known for his passionate intensity. They stood at opposite poles politically, as well: Edwin voted for Abraham Lincoln; John was an ardent advocate of the Confederacy.

Award-winning author James Cross Giblin draws on first-hand accounts of family members, friends, and colleagues to create vivid images of Edwin Booth and his brother John Wilkes, best known today as the man who shot Abraham Lincoln. He traces the events leading up to the assassination and describes the effects of John Wilkes’s infamous deed on himself, his family, and his country. Comprehensive and compelling, this dual portrait illuminates a dark and tragic moment in the nation’s history and explores the complex legacy of two leading men—one revered, the other abhorred. Notes, bibliography, index.

  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780618096428
  • ISBN-10: 0618096426
  • Pages: 256
  • Publication Date: 05/23/2005
  • Carton Quantity: 18
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  • Edwin Booth and his younger brother John Wilkes Booth were, in many ways, two of a kind. They were among America’s finest actors, having inherited their father’s commanding stage presence along with his penchant for alcohol and impulsive behavior. In other respects, the two brothers were very different. Edwin was more introspective, while John was known for his passionate intensity. They stood at opposite poles politically, as well: Edwin voted for Abraham Lincoln; John was an ardent advocate of the Confederacy.

    Award-winning author James Cross Giblin draws on first-hand accounts of family members, friends, and colleagues to create vivid images of Edwin Booth and his brother John Wilkes, best known today as the man who shot Abraham Lincoln. He traces the events leading up to the assassination and describes the effects of John Wilkes’s infamous deed on himself, his family, and his country. Comprehensive and compelling, this dual portrait illuminates a dark and tragic moment in the nation’s history and explores the complex legacy of two leading men—one revered, the other abhorred. Notes, bibliography, index.


  • * "Giblin is brilliant . . . breathtaking clarity . . . readers will be engrossed until the very last footnote." 
    —Booklist,starred review 
      
    "Giblin raises his biographical curtain . . . opens a wealth of avenues for further reading . . . put[s] faces to the history." 
    —Horn Book 
      
    * "The writing is engaging and eminently readable . . . consummate storytelling. What a story! This is nonfiction at its finest." 
    —School Library Journal, starred review 
      
    * "Compelling . . . fascinating biography of brothers during a time of war . . . readable and interesting." 
    —Kirkus Reviews, starred review 
      
    "[A] dual biography by a master of the art . . . Giblin weaves high drama." 
    —The Washington Post Book World 
      
    "[Giblin] offers a particularly poignant picture . . . relates the fraternal saga with verve as well as diligence." 
    —The Bulletin