The Reason Lincoln Had to Die
by Don Thomas

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You Have Not Read This Before

by Ian Wesley, Editor

Thousands of books have been written about Abraham Lincoln and his assassination.  Mr. Thomas is not the first to implicate Edwin Stanton, nor Joseph Holt, nor John Bingham, nor others involved.  Mr. Thomas is not the first to point out that known participants in the assassination were not prosecuted.  Neither is Mr. Thomas the first to insist that innocent people were convicted in a mock trial.  Thus it was no surprise, when we handed proof copies of the book to historians to test read, nearly every single one remarked, "Oh, I've already read everything he has to say."

No.  With all due respect, you have not.

Before I took on Don Thomas as a client, I conducted a month-long investigation into his book's claims.  I was not going to involve myself in a project that was provably false.  The premise of his book must be at the very least a plausible theory worthy of public debate (which is all I expected it to be).  Instead I found it precise, factual, and impossible to rebut any but the most superficial elements of its content.  Additionally, I found it to contain an astonishing amount of exclusive revelations.  It was truly a peerless book.

In my research I found books with some similar content, and to my surprise Don Thomas had not read these, nor heard of most of them.  He derived his conclusions from reading trial transcripts, telegrams, evidentiary records, executive orders and proclamations, letters, speeches (you know, the "unspun" history).  As I guided him through five editorial revisions, checking his facts against hundreds of other historical accounts, I witnessed other authors repeatedly misstating facts and drawing implausible conclusions.

What one will find in The Reason Lincoln Had to Die, that is not found in any of the hundreds of history books I have reviewed, are the following:

The names, descriptions and roles of Union agents in Booth's circle of associates—James Donaldson, Kate Thompson, and James Hall, to name a few.
The betrayals Lincoln was publicly accused of by his own party members, plus their numerous warnings and ultimata if he continued to defy their agenda.

Plausible indicators that the U.S. Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, was attempting to prolong the Civil War to enable a Republican other than Lincoln to win the Republican nomination in 1864.  (Click here for supplemental article)

Who really killed John Wilkes Booth, and why.
How the War Department's involvement was covered up and the politicians behind the assassination perverted Lincoln's legacy.
How Lincoln's best Cabinet-level defender, Secretary of State William Seward, was nearly assassinated on the same night as Lincoln, made possible by his chamber maid collaborating with Booth.  This woman was identified to the War Department, and they concealed her involvement rather than prosecute her.  No author but Don Thomas has addressed this connection.

And the eponymous fact: Lincoln's murder was a political maneuver by a faction trying to preserve its Congressional power.  This group believed that at the war's end Lincoln had to die.

The books to which historians have so far mistakenly compared our book typically include these three:

Why Was Lincoln Murdered?  by Otto Eisenschiml, 1937
When I presented Mr. Thomas with Eisenschiml's book, he was unfamiliar with it.  In this book Eisenschiml had pieced together some of the same logic that Thomas used to conclude Edwin Stanton played a major role in Lincoln's assassination.  However, Mr. Eisenschiml didn't understand the political dynamics that motivated the assassination, which Thomas masterfully understands.  Additionally, Mr. Eisenschiml's book was written 40 years before the confession of George Atzerodt was rediscovered, thus Eisenschiml lacked the scores of names, events and indirect implications the confession revealed.  Furthermore, Eisenschiml couldn't and didn't make the connections Mr. Thomas proved regarding the cover-up.  Mr. Eisenschiml did not have the array of documents and evidence, nor the political understanding of Mr. Thomas.
Dark Union   by Leonard F. Guttridge and Ray A. Neff, 2003
This is yet another book Mr. Thomas hadn't heard of.  Dark Union, the movie and Mr. Neff in the press, have made claims that "the boy" accompanying Booth was not David Herold, that Booth escaped capture and fled the country, and a litany of alleged facts about the demise of Lafayette Baker that seemingly have never been independently validated (if the latter is not the case, I would love to post a retraction).  Where Neff and Thomas agree is that Stanton and Baker were involved in the assassination and the cover-up.
The Lincoln Conspiracy  by David W. Balsiger, Charles E. Sellier, 1977

In this case Don Thomas had heard of this book, but only because a movie had been based upon (and named after) it, released in the same year.  However, The Lincoln Conspiracy did not include the names and involvement of the Union agents infiltrating Booth's gang (Atzerodt's confession had just emerged as the book went to press), and therefore these implications were absent.  They did rightly show Louis Weichmann being intimidated into lying to help the War Department win false convictions.  Balsiger and Sellier, like Neff, contended that Booth got away.  Furthermore they alleged that Radical congressment were involved in engineering Booth's kidnapping affair, and that the abduction plot was simply converted to an assassination plot.  Mr. Thomas, on the other hand, demonstrates with compelling logic that the kidnapping plot was a hair-brained strategy by Booth alone that had no input from any intelligence agency, and was persuaded on the final day to assassinate Lincoln by a double agent.

A number of authors have touched on one of the agents who infiltrated Booth's associates, Kate Thompson.  However, instead of properly identifying her as the Union agent that she was, they misconstrue her identity as being the same as Sarah Antoiette Slater, which is not at all possible (and Mr. Thomas conclusively argues why).  The confusion of Slater with Thompson began with the false account given by Louis J. Weichmann in the conspirators trial, a ploy to protect the identity of Thompson, who aided Booth.  While Thompson's role was significant, it is absolutely shocking that no historians in the decades since 1977 have publicized the role of another Union agent, James Donaldson, who was described by two of Booth's associates in custody, and yet never prosecuted.

The unique aspect of Don Thomas's book is not that it brings new details or trivia to light, but that it brings to the fore nearly a dozen documented individuals who have been missed, ignored, or hidden.  With these players in consideration, most of the falsehoods that have long eclipsed the truth of Lincoln's assassination shatter and fall away, revealing a completely new and vital understanding of American history, politics, warfare, and what Abraham Lincoln lost his life trying to preserve.


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