Episode #36 John Wilkes Booth, the Lincoln Assassination, and Public History with Dave Taylor

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Well if you're unfamiliar with the term "Boothie" now's your chance to learn something new...and quite fascinating. Dave is indeed a self-styled Boothie. Once a derogatory term used to dismiss those who studied Lincoln's assassin, he's reclaimed it and has dedicated his historical pursuits to the study of the man and the conspiracy - as part of a serious scholarly effort to add to the comprehensive narrative of the nation's martyred president. 

We discuss: 

  • What is compelling about the study of John Wilkes Booth
  • Why past scholars have looked down upon Booth studies
  • Americans (or everybody, really) and their fascination with murders and murder mysteries
  • The John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Tour
  • The significance of public history
  • My least favorite Civil War era film ever, The Conspirator
  • Mary Surratt - was she unfairly executed?  

As always, I ask my guests to recommend some must-read material...and Dave offers three: American Brutus by Michael W. Kauffman, John Wilkes Booth Day by Day by Arthur F. Loux, and Fortune's Fool by Terry Alford and for your viewing pleasure, we should certainly have a look at Tom Ford's 1936 film, The Prisoner of Shark Island, which (sort of) tells the story of Dr. Samuel Mudd - who some feel was complicit in the assassination conspiracy. 

You can find Dave on his website - BoothieBarn, and of course...Twitter. When in the great state of Maryland, be sure and look him up, take a tour, hear what he has to say! 

Be sure and subscribe on iTunes and Spotify so you don't do something stupid and miss a future show!

Keith Harris