"Right or Wrong, God Judge Me"

The Writings of John Wilkes Booth
Author: Edited by John Rhodehamel and Louise Taper
Paper – $24
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/2001
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About the Book

Superbly edited and annotated, this collection of the writings of John Wilkes Booth constitutes a major new primary source that contributes to scholarship on Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and nineteenth-century theater history. The nearly seventy documents--more than half published here for the first time--include love letters written during the summer of 1864, when Booth was conspiring against Lincoln, explicit statements of Booth's political convictions, and the diary he kept during his futile twelve-day flight after the assassination.

About the Author

John Rhodehamel, Norris Foundation Curator of American Historical Manuscripts at the Huntington Library, is the author of The Great Experiment: George Washington and the American Republic and other books. Louise Taper, a noted Lincoln collector, owns the largest collection extant of John Wilkes Booth letters.


"This first work to gather all of the known writings of Booth offers important new information and insights into his activities and his character. . . . The research for the annotations is most impressive, and they add an important dimension to Booth's writings."--James M. McPherson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

"'Right or Wrong, God Judge Me' is marvelous reading and makes a new and major contribution to Civil War history--to American history! In his own words and in the notes and introductions of the editors, Booth escapes his popular image as a mad bomber. The book shows us--far more convincingly than his sister's memoirs or the writings of his friends--what Booth really was and what he and so many, many others really thought Lincoln was. . . . [A] very sophisticated piece of work."--William Hanchett, author of The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies

"Rhodehamel and Taper have pulled together the most extensive record of what remains [of Booth's writings], more than doubling what had been published previously. . . . [They] have not only found new letters, but, through a useful introduction and extensive notes, put every document into context."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)