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Friday, May 17, 2013

Book Review: The Hour of Peril by Daniel Stashower

hour of peril

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower
Unabridged, 13 hr. 45 min.
Macmillan Audio
Edoardo Ballerini (Narrator)
January 29, 2013

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Received from the publisher for review

Daniel Stashower, the two-time Edgar award–winning author of The Beautiful Cigar Girl, uncovers the riveting true story of the “Baltimore Plot,” an audacious conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on the eve of the Civil War in The Hour of Peril.

In February of 1861, just days before he assumed the presidency, Abraham Lincoln faced a “clear and fully-matured” threat of assassination as he traveled by train from Springfield to Washington for his inauguration. Over a period of thirteen days the legendary detective Allan Pinkerton worked feverishly to detect and thwart the plot, assisted by a captivating young widow named Kate Warne, America’s first female private eye.

As Lincoln’s train rolled inexorably toward “the seat of danger,” Pinkerton struggled to unravel the ever-changing details of the murder plot, even as he contended with the intractability of Lincoln and his advisors, who refused to believe that the danger was real. With time running out Pinkerton took a desperate gamble, staking Lincoln’s life—and the future of the nation—on a “perilous feint” that seemed to offer the only chance that Lincoln would survive to become president.  Shrouded in secrecy—and, later, mired in controversy—the story of the “Baltimore Plot” is one of the great untold tales of the Civil War era, and Stashower has crafted this spellbinding historical narrative with the pace and urgency of a race-against-the-clock thriller.

With the life of Abraham Lincoln being one of the most written about presidential biographies, I was surprised to learn about the “Baltimore Plot” to murder the president before he could be inaugurated. In Lincoln by David Herbert Donald there were a few lines of mention about this plot, but that was it. This book details the whole story, from the lead up, to the plot action, to the resolution.

Besides enlightening the reader to this little known, but very important, aspect of Civil War history we learn about the growth of the railroads and the evolution of the private investigation business. I was fascinated by the story of Allan Pinkerton. I had heard of him with regard to “the Pinkertons” as strike breakers – but interestingly enough, that wasn’t Allan Pinkerton, but relatives after he was deceased. I loved hearing how he came to the United States, built himself up, and created his private detection agency.

This was a fast paced narrative and not boring in the slightest. I appreciated the look at a new angle of Lincoln’s story.



The narration was well done and engaging. The narration kept the plot moving. Otherwise, the audio production was a standard production.

Author Daniel Stashower also has written several other books including: The Beautiful Cigar Girl, Teller of Tales, The Boy Genius and the Mogul among others. You can visit Stashower’s website for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try listening to this excerpt of the book?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court

1 comment:

  1. I provided a link to the Amazon site below my review above, but you can get it almost anywhere. Here is the link to my favorite bookstore, RJ Julia where you can buy it as well - if you like supporting Indie bookstores - http://www.rjjulia.com/book/9780312600228.


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