by Martha Reed
Assassin: a person who commits murder; especially: one who murders a politically important person either for hire or from fanatical motives.
A friend at work loaned me a copy of a book I probably wouldn’t have picked up for myself: MANHUNT The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson. I thought it was an appropriate blog topic, because 143 years ago this week – between April 14th and April 26th, 1865, our nation was focused on locating John Wilkes Booth, the assassin who shot and killed our sixteenth President.
This book is not the same dry history I remember. I can’t put this thing down, and I’m losing sleep over it.
At approximately the same time Abe Lincoln was being stalked in Ford’s Theater, another member of Booth’s murderous crew, Lewis Powell, entered the home of Secretary of State William H. Seward under false medical pretenses and attacked Seward with a knife. Seward, who was already bedridden and trying to recover from an earlier carriage accident (broken arm and jaw) was repeatedly stabbed and cut about the face before his assassin was driven off by members of his family and staff. Secretary Seward eventually recovered, but it must have been one tough week by anyone’s measure.
This is what the Lincoln assassins looked like:
And when it comes to assassins, this is what Hollywood keeps serving up:
Why is it, when history offers such incredible true stories, that Hollywood keeps offering the same hackneyed female assassin stereotype? I suspect it has a lot to do with immature males (and I’m not just talking movie producers) and their spendable dollars.
To balance the scale a bit, let’s consider the male assassin: Viggo Mortensen in American Yakuza.
Speaking of Viggo, he’s in Pittsburgh this week filming his new movie The Road, and rumor has it he’s also considering a movie based on the life of Edgar Allan Poe. So in the end, it all comes back to mystery, as it should.