What are three books similar in theme to Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson?

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James Swanson's Chasing Lincoln's Killer (Scholastic Press, 2009) is a sensational piece of historical non-fiction. It chronicles the pursuit and eventual capture of John Wilkes Booth, who infamously shot President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., in April 1865.

The book is characterized primarily by the author's close attention to primary sources (including letters, trial manuscripts, and newspapers), coupled with its live-action, engrossing prose style, which distinguishes it from a documentary-style biopic or a history textbook.

There are many books published in this vein, generally attending the biographies of famous (or infamous) historical figures. Three titles particularly ripe for comparison include Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America (Crown Publishers, 2003); Steven M. Gillon's Lee Harvey Oswald: 48 Hours to Live: Oswald, Kennedy, and the Conspiracy That Will Not Die (Sterling Publishing, 2013); and Carl Berstein and Bob Woodward's All The President's Men (Simon & Schuster, 1974).

Each of these titles bears a particular resemblance to Chasing Lincoln's Killer. The first, The Devil in the White City, gives a vivid account of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago—and of the murders accomplished there by serial killer Dr. Henry Howard Holmes. Like Chasing Lincoln's killer, its prose resembles fiction, though it recounts a true story.

The next, Lee Harvey Oswald: 48 Hours to Live, is more documentary in style; however, its similarities to Chasing Lincoln's Killer are twofold: it details the assassination of an acting president, and its focus is on the material circumstances and psychological conditions of the assassin. Close attention is paid to a variety of primary sources (namely declassified documents and photos), and the author (Steven Gillon) is a consultant for the History Channel.

Finally, All the President's Men (which inspired a famous film of the same name, released two years later) also treats a subject surrounding a president's misfortune (though here a political scandal, not an assassination). This book is comparatively journalistic in style and is based on the investigative reporting of the authors surrounding the informant, Deep Throat (an alias for FBI deputy director Mark Felt), who leaked information regarding the Nixon administration's break-in at the Democratic National Convention in 1972.

All of these books pay excellent attention to historical sources, resulting in compelling and engaging non-fiction.

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