The Assassin's Accomplice

The Assassin's Accomplice

Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln

Book - 2008
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In The Assassin's Accomplice , historian Kate Clifford Larson tells the gripping story of Mary Surratt, a little-known participant in the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln, and the first woman ever to be executed by the federal government of the United States. Surratt, a Confederate sympathizer, ran the boarding house in Washington where the conspirators-including her rebel son, John Surratt-met to plan the assassination. When a military tribunal convicted her for her crimes and sentenced her to death, five of the nine commissioners petitioned President Andrew Johnson to show mercy on Surratt because of her sex and age. Unmoved, Johnson refused-Surratt, he said, "kept the nest that hatched the egg." Set against the backdrop of the Civil War, The Assassin's Accomplice tells the intricate story of the Lincoln conspiracy through the eyes of its only female participant. Based on long-lost interviews, confessions, and court testimony, the text explores how Mary's actions defied nineteenth-century norms of femininity, piety, and motherhood, leaving her vulnerable to deadly punishment historically reserved for men. A riveting narrative account of sex, espionage, and murder cloaked in the enchantments of Southern womanhood, The Assassin's Accomplice offers a fresh perspective on America's most famous murder.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2008
ISBN: 9780465038152
Characteristics: xix, 263 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm


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Oct 20, 2011

One of the most compelling characters in the story of the Lincoln assassination is Mary Surratt, the only female conspirator and the first woman executed by the federal government. Mary was the mother of John Surratt, one of Booth?s most infamous accomplices. Booth was a constant visitor at the Surratt boardinghouse in Washington, D.C.?he even visited Mary the day of the murder. In short, the Surratt home was the center of operations for the assassination conspiracy. When Mary was inevitably arrested (her Southern sympathies were no secret), the public was shocked that a gentlewoman could be involved so directly in such a deplorable plot. When Mary was sentenced to death, the nation was outraged that their government could be so harsh to a mere woman. The Assassin?s Accomplice reveals Mary Surratt as a strong-willed woman who made no qualms about what she believed?and who paid for those beliefs with her life.


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