Lincoln's Final Hours (Canavan) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
1. Recall what 9-11 was like for Americans who lived through it. Imagine what assassination night was like for ordinary Washingtonians who heard snippets of news on the street corners and were without benefit of internet, television or even radio.

2. Was Mary Lincoln reviled because she had a sharp wit, was a spot-on mimic and had a better education than even most wealthy men of her time?

3. Mary Todd Lincoln's family was a microcosm of the nation as a whole. The Todds lost three sons and a beloved son-in-law in the first four years of the Civil War, and, days after Gen. Lee surrendered, they lost a second son-in-law, this one at Ford's Theatre. The war killed more than 750,000 American soldiers—North and South. How do you think President Lincoln was feeling the last week of his life, after he had finally led the country back together?

4. John Wilkes Booth's father, Shakespearean actor Junius Booth, had two families, a legal one in London and another wife and 10 children in Maryland. Booth was a youngster when his father's first wife found out about his other family, traveled to America and berated Booth and his mother in public places. It is said the Booth was a kind and joyous boy until that happened. Then he became vindictive, earned a reputation as having a hair-trigger temper, and even beat his own younger brother until his face was unrecognizable. Could bullying by the first Mrs. Booth really change the trajectory of a young boy's life?
(Questions courtesy of the author.)

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