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Full title, "The Legend of John Wilkes Booth - Myth, Memory & A Mummy"
Written by C Wyatt Evans in 2004, with about 220 pages of text.

I didn't care for it, but it's my own fault. I should have read the full book description better. From Amazon's description....

"Weaving a "vernacular intellectual history", Evans shows how the legend emerged from a tangle of cultural and historical events including white Americans' quest for a suitable racial pre-history, collective memories of the Civil War, and even incipient suspicions of conspiracy, since belief in Booth's escape automatically implied a government cover-up of Booth's capture and death. More than a sop to Confederate diehards for whom Booth's escape symbolized Southern vindication, the legend exemplified Americans' inability and unwillingness to enact closure over the tragedy of Lincoln's death.

The Legend of John Wilkes Booth is a compelling story of how collective memories and popular histories collide with, clash, and sometimes overcome mainstream accounts of the past. It offers an alternate venue for studying the workings of Civil War memory in American culture and demonstrates how (and why) culture produced at the grassroots level can challenge the official version of events. Through his meticulous account, Evans sheds new light on our complex attitudes toward heroes and villains, our need to mythologize tragedies, and our unwillingness to let go of myths, however absurd."

The book was well researched with about 30 pages of footnotes, but I was hoping this would be more of a history of the Booth Mummy, and it turned out to be more of a commentary of social and societal views of the assassination 40 years and more after the fact and using the Booth Mummy to explain them. The book did have some interesting points, but they were scattered throughout the book. I felt like I was reading someone's expanded college thesis. It was tiresome.

For more fun, read this thread from last year about comparisons of Booth to John St Helens
Gene - with apologies to the author of that book - it has been ten years since its publication, and I haven't been able to finish it yet! You and I are both on the same wave length regarding it, but you are kinder. I got the feeling that I was reading psycho babble.
John Wilkes Booth lived on many years past 1866 and died out West in maybe Texas or in Enid Oklahoma in 1903, so some folks have claimed. Some of the names he used in his travels were John St.Helen and David George, they say. He nearly died (from 'medicated suicide') once or twice in circa 1870-85 Texas where he was mainly known as John St.Helen. He finally died in 1903 Enid OK, it is claimed by some. Then many articles mainly retell the hazy actions and writings of a lawyer/self-promoter Finis Bates and 'the mummy of Booth', where the mummy went, who bought and displayed it, etc.

There is no doubt in my mind that there was a JWBooth or his several aliases in these places and times. A physical man or men did exist and making these claims, whatever his real name(s) may have been. Looking at it from the point of view of his actions and whether they corresponded to JWBooth. In 1870 Granbury TX John St.Helen lay near death and he insisted a Catholic priest be summoned (for last rites presumably), and the nearest one was 50 miles away in Dallas. And a priest came out. If you requested a priest to come to your deathbed from a long distance, would it only be so that you could make up stories about your identity to him?
(12-29-2015 04:39 AM)maharba Wrote: [ -> ]If you requested a priest to come to your deathbed from a long distance, would it only be so that you could make up stories about your identity to him?

That seems to be one of those loaded yes or no questions like, Do you still beat your wife? The premise of your question is all wrong.
Trust me here, maharba, you do not want to get me started on the "Booth escaped" theory and the mummy. It will not be pretty.
(12-29-2015 04:39 AM)maharba Wrote: [ -> ]If you requested a priest to come to your deathbed from a long distance, would it only be so that you could make up stories about your identity to him?
Some folks believe to be Napoleon or the Hustnettenbär...schizophrenic disorder, split personality, just to mention two "yes" options.

...or Teddy Roosevelt:
I think the next consideration should be. Was John Wilkes catholic? This man who nearly died in 1870 Granbury Tx surely did appear to be catholic. We've all seen that "Chiniquy catholic plot killed Lincoln" stuff. But JWBooth was not a catholic. Until we've heard the supposed conversion to catholic by Booth (similar to Lady Hope visiting Darwin in his final illness, and Lincoln being secretly baptised). So, JWBooth had not been a catholic, but this man nearly dying in Granbury TX 1870 who called for a priest, did appear to be a catholic. Then can we use this noncatholic Booth vs catholic John St. Helens as an absolute diagnostic tool to dismiss the Booth Survived Legend narratives? I think there is far more to it, beyond this, yet.
The absolute tool to dismiss the Booth Survived Legend are his more than positive identification at the autopsy as well as at the final internment in 1869.
Amen, Eva.
John St. Helen knew personal details of actors of the day, appeared to have worked the theater houses, a deep knowledge of stagecraft, could recite Shakespeare better than Lincoln could parrot his Bible verses. A Southerner and very likely served in the Confederacy. If the legend is true then he is John Wilkes Booth. If not, then John St.Helen had some obscure motives and another name entirely. What could such motives have been, and who else could he have been? He should be found in the 1860 and 1870 censuses. Have you ever seen any of the 'mummy traveling exhibit' articles address any of these questions.
You forgot to mention he was an alcoholic.
Have you read this book?
Well, blending the two (and several more alias names) St. Helen and David George, some narratives have "JWBooth" as stone sober excepting on the day of Lincoln's assassination, when he would supposedly drink himself into a stupor. Some other narratives have St.John/George as a hard drinking and often drunken character, most all the time. How many countless thousands of Civil War veterans were in constant physical and emotional pain, since Lincoln 'invaded to save the Union'. And how many of these needed relief in opiates, alcohol, etc for how many decades of their tortured existence? The official JWBooth, in my opinion, was nearly become an alcoholic, even as a young man "when he officially died". So, if the aspect of being a hard-drinker were diagnostic in itself, that would be a point of agreement which matched in both cases.

But looking at the feature of John St.Helen having familiarity with Shakespeare and stage craft. He must have been in opera houses and theaters in the larger cities of Texas, maybe New Orleans, possibly Washington, Baltimore, New York? Was he a leading Shakepearean actor? Was he a stage hand or a bit player? If an investigator of the day, say 1870-1890, had soon stopped at Texas opera houses and talked to stage folks there and did some checking. If he'd asked, "Do you know of a man looks a bit like JWBooth and who is very familiar with Shakepeare's plays, have you come across such a man, did he do any work here"?
Whom do you feel the family, friends, and acquaintances all positively identified as the remains of John Wilkes Booth in 1865 and again in 1869?
Surely there were any number of people in 19th-century America who were familiar with Shakespeare's plays (including the many actors who played in smaller towns and who never made it to the major houses), and who weren't John Wilkes Booth.
...and I am glad courts and many other people found there judgments on evidence instead of legends and fabulations and their mere conclusion "no smoke without fire" outranks whatever corrobating contrary evidence.
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