Good Article Review About Collating The Strands Of The John Wilkes Booth Murder Mystery

Published: 2021-06-18 05:19:58
essay essay

Category: Family, History, Hope, Body, Identity, Murder, Murder, Mystery, Lincoln

Type of paper: Essay

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Dr.
Introduction
In the excerpt "John Wilkes Booth killed Lincolnbut who killed John Wilkes Booth?" Jesse Hicks probes the ever-so-more confounding mystery of the death of Lincoln’s assassin, the famous/infamous John Wilkes Booth.
Thesis
This paper details the account she posits in the aforementioned article - a factual delineation of the official version of the assassination, John Wilkes Booth’s alleged escape, arrest and murder, the speculation regarding the murdered man’s identity, an uncovering of hidden secrets, conspiracies and a forthcoming of the ‘unofficial’ version of history, the increasing interest in the case of historians on either side of the mystery alike and one man’s (Nate Orlowek’s) undeterred enthusiasm in unveiling the secret of Booth’s death. The account is enmeshed with facts that evince the alternate theory- the unofficial version vis-à-vis the Booth family’s witness, the other alleged conspirators (apparently scapegoated by a “vindictive Northern government) and their role in history.
Body
The first section of the excerpt allows the readers to traverse the official account of Lincoln’s assassination by Booth and his escape. The murder of Lincoln at Ford’s theater In Washington DC on April 14th, 1865 sent the country in a state of shock. While “Northerners feared saboteurs among them,” “ many Southerners believed the murder would bring harsh retribution from the post-war government.” The assassin escaped and for an indefinite period, the fear and panic spread and various sightings of the man who hailed the cry of Sic semper tyrannis — Latin for "Thus always to tyrants" were reported at interims. Nate Orlowek, too, not unlike the others, was fed with this official version of history until a chance encounter with Web of Conspiracy: The Complete Story of the Men Who Murdered Abraham Lincoln, on one of the bookshelves of his friend changed the course of his thought trajectory and that of history too, forever.
The second section deals with Orlowek’s increasing scepticism and an ebbing belief on the ‘learnt’ account of history. This led him to inspect the case himself, and he set out on a voyage that would culminate in “correction of history.” He was inspired by his father’s words:
"There are a lot of things that are not the way they’re supposed to be," he says, "and we should not accept things as they are if they’re not the way they’re supposed to be. We should fight to change them."
These words propelled him to strive against all odds on his noble and self-assigned mission and his determination and zeal got him the access to Library of Congress too! His unmistakable enthusiasm and idealistic conviction set him sailing on a voyage that surfed the waves of Tim Crouse’s sceptic waters- "The infuriating thing about nut theories is that there’s always that million-to-one shot that an irrefutable piece of evidence is out there somewhere, half-buried, as it were, just waiting for someone to stoop down and dig it up.” Nonetheless, Orlowek continued to strive against the odds and was almost always under media attention for his mission of unearthing "a story every American has the right to know."
The third section of the excerpt deals with laying out a family history, albeit an incomplete one, with only details relevant to the mystery at hand. It describes Joanne Hulme, the great-great-great granddaughter of Jane Booth, aunt to John Wilkes Booth. It bares the sense of pride Joanne felt at learning of the Booth legacy, the richness of the lineage and the subsequent sense of identity and belonging to her blood-line. It also exposes the gradual uncovering of the unofficial version of history vis-à-vis family anecdotes and her growing concern with how the family name should not be marred for one history-changing act by an individual.
The next section revolves around newer possibilities in solving the ‘puzzle’ by setting into its right place the missing piece of evidence whether the body at the cemetery was really Booth’s. This possibility was presented to Orlowek and his new research partner, Arthur Ben Chitty, a historiographer and professor at the University of the South, by the Smithsonian Institution and they offered to carry out an exhumation by means of which the identity of the body at the cemetery could be confirmed. The Booth descendants were brought around by Orlowek’s art of persuasion, concretised by facts and with the media interest newly perked, the duo (Orlowek and Chitty), along with the team, prepared a legal brief to obtain permission for their unravelling their new-found clue. However the President of Green Mount Cemetery, along with a team of historians decided to go to court to block the exhumation. There followed a trial, ending in denial to disturb the grave. Disappointed and disillusioned, Orlowek and his allies receded into their own realms, until the next possibility of a DNA analysis presented itself. This opportunity, too, though, was not without its own share of hurdles. The DNA for the test was to be obtained from bone samples at NMHM (National Museum of Health and Medicine), and the reques was denied on the seemingly frivolous grounds of preserving the samples for future generations. The frivolity of the premise was qualified by Krista Latham, director of the University of Indianapolis Molecular Anthropology Laboratory and an assistant professor of biology and anthropology, who Orlowek spoke to about the procedure and who corroborated that extricating a 0.2 grams of powderized bone material was a minimally destructive procedure. Disappointed a second time, the alternate theory champions resigned to a passive state of inertia until technology advancement could enable them to press harder and meet with a positive result.
The last section of the excerpt deals with the nominals/emblems of rememberance that stand on the US soil in memory of the martyrs (to each side their own martyr!) and also points out to the possibility of reaching the ‘truth’, if the mummy of David E. George(the 40-years later version of Booth who died) could be found to match the DNA sample with that of Edwin Booth’s so as to achieve what Orlowek says, "In the end we can all win, if we get the truth."
Conclusion
The article by Hicks ends on a note of a faint hope lurking in the mind of Orlowek and the Booth family- the hope of finding the missing clues to resolve the mystery, someday. It truly attempts to collate the strands of the Booth controversy in a factual document, aiming to inform and positing a faint hope for some resolution, someday.
"In the end we can all win, if we get the truth."

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