Every Drop of Blood (Hardcover)
Hatred and Healing at Abraham Lincoln's Second Inauguration
Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802148742, 336pp.
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Edward Achorn reveals the nation's capital on that momentous day--with its mud, sewage, and saloons, its prostitutes, spies, reporters, social-climbing spouses and power-hungry politicians--as a microcosm of all the opposing forces that had driven the country apart. A host of characters, unknown and famous, had converged on Washington--from grievously wounded Union colonel Selden Connor in a Washington hospital and the embarrassingly drunk new vice president, Andrew Johnson, to poet-journalist Walt Whitman; from soldiers' advocate Clara Barton and African American leader and Lincoln critic-turned-admirer Frederick Douglass (who called the speech "a sacred effort") to conflicted actor John Wilkes Booth--all swirling around the complex figure of Lincoln.
In indelible scenes, Achorn vividly captures the frenzy in the nation's capital at this crucial moment in America's history and the tension-filled hope and despair afflicting the country as a whole, soon to be heightened by Lincoln's assassination. His story offers new understanding of our great national crisis, and echoes down the decades to resonate in our own time.