April 14th 1865, on the balcony of the Ford Theatre in Washington DC, John Wilkes Booth has just assassinated president Abraham Lincoln. This shocking incident would ring through history and make the Booths the most infamous family in the country. The John Adams Institute is pleased to host author and Man Booker finalist Karen Joy Fowler to discuss her American epic, Booth.
But Booth is much more than the story of that fabled night. It is a sweeping American saga that charts the rising fame of the Booth family from humble beginnings to fame as the nation’s best-known family of actors, broadening this iconic American story from the person of the assassin to his family and his era.
In doing so, she exposes the root in the nineteenth century of many of America’s current troubles, born out of the inequalities and uncertainties of the Civil War, as the struggle between Democrats and Republicans, North and South, and the looming dangers of populism and tyranny take centerstage.
“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”
– Abraham Lincoln, 1838
Click here to read the introduction to Karen Joy Fowler by Katy Hull.