The Day Lincoln Was Shot Critical Essays

Jim Bishop


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

The Day Lincoln Was Shot serves as a biography for young adults because it provides important insights into the character traits of Lincoln and into his death. It also reveals something about Booth and a number of other figures of the period, as it gives an in-depth portrait of a significant event in their lives. It is also a history book, as the assassination of President Lincoln, by its very nature, was a painful conclusion to a tragic period in American history. The event has also raised much speculation among historians about its effect on the aftermath of the Civil War. The Day Lincoln Was Shot is valuable because it predicts some of the problems that were to arise regarding Reconstruction. As it sets forth Lincoln’s resolve to facilitate the country’s return to peace in a painless and humane way, the book also portrays Vice President Andrew Johnson’s many character flaws, foretelling the difficulties that he was to encounter as president.

Bishop’s use of detail adds immeasurably to the readability of The Day Lincoln Was Shot. In describing Ford’s Theatre as it appeared just prior to the assassination, he writes that “gas jets in light-colored bowls were bracketed around the walls of the theater, and over the stage.” Such a realistic description does not present the scene in an ominous light, even though it serves to foreshadow the irony of an actor’s choice of a theater for what was to be his final...

(The entire section is 597 words.)