Lincoln Discussion Symposium

Full Version: Backstage With Booth
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by Michael Hurwitz.
Focus of the book is Edmund Spangler. The book contains much of the testimony regarding Spangler, good and bad, presented at his trial. Lot's of interesting & not so interesting info about the behind the scenes activity at Ford's Theater. After reading this it I come away with the impression that Spangler was a victim of over zealous government authorities trying to prove that Booth had help from someone inside the theater. The evidence as supplied in this book indicates he was not guilty of aiding Booth in assassinating President Lincoln.

Several illustrations in the book, but many are too small to be seen clearly. IMO, this is not a must have book, but it is the only one I know of where the primary focus is on Spangler, so it was interesting in that regard. Print is larger than average, so it's easy to read. There did seem to me to be a fair amount of unnecessary information to fill the book. Would have liked more info about Spangler's experiences in prison and after his pardon.
In my ever so humble opinion, I think the best sources to get to know poor Ned are Tom Bogar's masterpiece and also Ed Steer's "The Trial". Ed was very wise when he asked a number of experts to contribute biographies of the co-conspirators. The bio on Ned Spangler was the contribution of our very own Betty Ownsbey. It is wellwritten and moves quickly. You come away with the feeling that you know Spangler a little better as a person with a soul than just a two dimensional villain.

Both Betty and Tom have brought Spangler to life as a rather simple man, who really never caught any breaks in life......quite the opposite, seems like the world was stacked against him.
Jim, I cannot think of the page or instance as I write this, but there was at least one piece of information in Tom's book that made me "wonder" about Spangler's total innocence (which is what I have always believed). If I can find what I remember reading I shall post it.
I just found what I was referring to above. It's from p. 141 of Tom's book. John Selecman, who was an assistant of James Maddox, approached James Ferguson on Monday, April 17th, and quietly told Ferguson that he was in the alley Friday night when JWB rode up. He overheard Booth call for Spangler, and Booth told Spangler, "Now, Ned, you will give me all the assistance you can." Spangler responded, "Yes, I will, you can depend on that."

If Selecman were telling the truth did this mean Spangler was agreeing to either holding Booth's horse himself or making sure someone else would hold it? Or could this be interpreted as Spangler indicating to Booth that he (Booth) could depend on "backstage help?"
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