Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Podcast on ManHunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer

We are interviewing James Swanson today, the author of a new book, Manhunt : The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. The narrative is so dramatic, it has been optioned into a movie with Harrison Ford playing Col. Everton Conger, the Civil War cavalryman who led the search for John Wilkes Booth. Word is still out for the part of Booth--but we're hoping for Johnny Depp or maybe Orlando Bloom.

If you are a Civil War buff or just interested in an intriguing tale of murder and mayhem about the chase and capture of Booth, listen to this fascinating podcast. Click here to listen or subscribe on iTunes. If you check out the front page of iTunes, you will see that the Glenn and Helen podcasts have been chosen as one of their featured podcasts. If you have not done so, please subscribe to help boost our ratings.

As always, any comments or suggestions are welcome.


Blogger Glenn said...

Bill: Low-fi versions are available here now:

(Or just go to InstaPundit and click the "extra" tab.) I've put up the last couple of shows; I'll add the earlier ones as I have time. These are slim, trim 16kbps files, suitable for even slow crappy dialup connections. They don't sound as good as the original, but they don't sound as bad as I expected, either. They're certainly perfectly intelligible.

8:54 PM, February 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A really good podcast about a book that sounds fascinating. The thought that Booth's actions were practically a performance has the ring of truth.

Lincoln's 2nd inaugural was mentioned It's a great speech. I think few people have read the whole thing. Everybody should. We all know "With malice toward none" etc., and earlier "Fondly do we hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away". But after the latter there's one long, dramatic sentence that begins with the ominous word "Yet".

My interest in the Loncoln assassination began in the 60s when I read a condensed book in Reader's Digest about the now-dismissed theory that Stanton was involved. The theory seemed rather eerie and spooky.

9:41 PM, February 08, 2006  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

How cool...I will check this out, and the book.

I got a book at a used book sale years ago about the plot to kill Lincoln, and became a bit of a buff.

Re the theory in the last comment about US Secretary of War Stanton...hunt up an article by Stephen Sears (the Civil War historian -- mostly writes books about military campaigns). Anyway, this article (at"The Dahlgren Papers Revisited" ties a raid by a Union colonel named Ulric Dahlgren on Richmond in 1864 to a plot to kill Confederate President Jefferson Davis and spring a bunch of POW's.

Anyway, the raid went off half-cocked, Dahlgren was killed and some incriminating papers were captured. The plot quite probably was real, and went all the way up to Secretary of War Stanton -- who tried to cover his tracks afterwards. Quite possibly, the comeback for this botched attempt was the plot to kill Lincoln.

10:15 PM, February 08, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

"...with Harrison Ford playing Col. Everton Conger, the Civil War cavalryman who led the search for John Wilkes Booth."

Whew, for a minute there, I thought the movie, coming from Hollywood, was going to make Booth the hero!

10:43 PM, February 08, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

What a great podcast. There's only one thing to say: More, please.

12:43 AM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doctor Helen,

Thanks for the low fidelity versions of the mp3's. Telephone interviews are by nature lo-fi. (I've not listened to your latest yet, but I'm assuming it's a phone interview since all the previous have been.)

Why distribute them fatter than they need to be?

I'm in the sticks of New Mexico. No Verizon coverage here. No cable. And I can't see shelling out a hundred per month for DirecWay (though the spokesmodel is hot).



CC: the Prof

1:49 AM, February 09, 2006  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Doctor Helen,

One man I would love to hear more about is Richard P. Feynman whose life was recounted by Ralph Leighton in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman and What Do You Care What Other People Think?.

Mr. Feynman looked into so many areas of life and science that it is truly hard to even begin the list of things he had done. From particle physics and his famous drawings that simplified the math, yet kept fidelity to it, to social engineering to circumvent security systems, to multi-tasking a linear processing mode, to giving the founding basis for nanotechnology, to being a passable bongo drummer and wonderful painter... that curious and wonderful man also helped to point out the one glaring deficiency in the Challenger Disaster, much to the discomfort of many present. A wonderful man with insights into himself, society and the universe and unheralded in the media because he cannot be pidgeonholed into any one area. The books, themselves, are wonderful to read, easy to approach and as light hearted and insightful as the man himself.

Any opportunity to explore his life would be greatly appreciated!

I hope the Amazon links work... the titles will certainly bring up the proper pages in a search.

9:21 AM, February 09, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

A Jacksonian,

I also like Richard Feynman and have read the first book you mentioned. Perhaps we can find one of the authors at some point to discuss more about his life with us on a future podcast. Thanks for the suggestion.

9:49 AM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well if you're looking for recommendations , how about Norman "green revolution" Borlaug @ A&M : many Greens hate him, but he's a deeply revered man throughout much of the developing world.

But I'd actually be interested in Dr. H's input on the intersection of narcissism and political identification.

As a recovering leftist I can attest to a certain regularity in the typology of personalities active in leftwing politics. Among these, the prominence of those seemingly fitting a description of moderate compensatory narcissism is striking. In my experience, contemporary leftist personas are primarily narcissistic, hystrionic, or too young to know better ;)

These issues are the consummate 'slippery slope', as their promotion can easily lead to a pathologization of political orientation (e.g. 'The Authoritarian Persona'). But I do think that they should be investigated. It's my suspicion that the introduction of psychoanalytic concepts as complements to Marxist ideology (e.g. Frankfurt school), coupled with the therapeutic primitivism and 'self love' ethic introduced in the 70's, has inspired a conflation of political and personal identities which may filter for, or even inspire such traits.

any thoughts ?

10:56 AM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

.. to clarify..

By 'left' I'm referring to 'progressives' and those ideologies further to the left of contemporary progressivism. Think MoveOn, NOW, Deep Ecology, not labor Democrats.

11:34 AM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work. This podcast was really excellent. Entertaining subject, talkative and knowledgeable guest, inquisitive and thoughtful hotsts - is there anything you and Glenn can't do?

12:48 PM, February 09, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


Thanks for the Norman Borlaug suggestion-we will see what we can do! I have posted on the Inverse Authoritarian Personality and the psychological traits of radical leftists in previous posts--you can find them in my archives.

6:33 PM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved the Nora Vincent podcast, in part because it was a single topic, which seemed to allow a more expansive, patient interview...they're all great, but I'd love to hear more time on all of your chosen topics - the folks you interview are fantastic!


6:57 PM, February 09, 2006  
Blogger Eric said...

You two make history thrilling and fun!

Please keep it up!

10:49 AM, February 10, 2006  
Blogger Joe Friday said...

I am so glad interest has been shown in this fascinating story in our history.

I live in Caroline County VA, where Booth was Killed. Unfortunately the powers that be here show little interest in the wealth of historical assets here.

In fact they are getting ready to destroy the historic town of Port Royal, VA by building a residential development along the Rappahanock River next to Port Royal. The land where the development is planned, is rich with Indian artifacts, Port Royal played a major part in the Civil War and George and Martha Washington honeymooned there.

The only reference to Booths last stand is a small sign on the side of US 301 in the middle of Fort A.P.Hill Army training facility.

I'd like to see the site recreated and a living history scene similar to Jamestown. Fat Chance!

Here are is the link to Carolines Government. Please write to the Board of Supervisors and the Administration in Caroline. Specifically Maxie Rozell and Floyd Thomas. They are the only rational open minded members.
Also letters to the Caroline progress our local Rag would be a big help in bringing attention to this soon to be destroyed County in American History.

And here is my email if I can be of help or information on history of this area.

1:29 PM, February 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting podcast with some solid history.
In fact, Booth was widely despised by the defeated Confererates because they knew that without Lincoln and his "malice toward none" plan to readmit the southern States the radical Republicans would enact a vengeful Reconstruction - as indeed happened. An excellent book on this subject is "The Day Dixie Died" by Thomas & Debra Goodrich.
Also (pick pick pick) in the interview Mr. Swanson offhandedly remarks that anyone could have walked in to see the President in the Oval Office. In fact Lincoln's office was upstairs in what is today known as The Lincoln Bedroom (it was his office, not bedroom). The oval room downstairs was a parlor/reception room until Theodore Roosevelt established it as his office because he needed the upstairs room for his children's bedroom.

4:34 PM, February 11, 2006  
Blogger Jenna said...

Really interesting and well-produced. Thank you!

6:33 PM, February 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting interview.

My question is, what was the song playing at the end of the podcast?

2:10 PM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

sam muldia,

The end music is by Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere, off the CD Heartbreak and Duct Tape. Lead vocals by Kat Brock of Dixie Dirt, with former Judybat Paul Noe on bass. You can go to Todd's site at

7:30 PM, February 14, 2006  
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