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The Lincoln Conspiracy

The Secret Plot to Kill America's 16th President--and Why It Failed

Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

Flatiron Books

The Lincoln Conspiracy Download image

ISBN10: 1250317479
ISBN13: 9781250317476


448 Pages



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Everyone knows the story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, but few are aware of the original conspiracy to kill him four years earlier in 1861, literally on his way to Washington, D.C., for his first inauguration. The conspirators were part of a pro-Southern secret society that didn’t want an anti-slavery President in the White House. They planned an elaborate scheme to assassinate the brand new President in Baltimore as Lincoln’s inauguration train passed through en route to the Capitol.

The plot was investigated by famed detective Allan Pinkerton, who infiltrated the group with undercover agents, including one of the first female private detectives in America. Had the assassination succeeded, there would have been no Lincoln Presidency, and the course of the Civil War and American history would have forever been altered.


Praise for The Lincoln Conspiracy

"The Lincoln Conspiracy is . . . relentlessly fun to read. Meltzer and Mensch are refreshingly unpretentious authors who prove gifted at providing essential context to the main storyline—they deftly paint a picture of 19th-century America, taking deep dives into Lincoln's life and the prevailing attitudes toward race and politics at the time. It's an expertly crafted book that seems sure to delight readers with an interest in lesser-known episodes of American history."—NPR

"Think you know everything about Abraham Lincoln? Well, think again. The Lincoln Conspiracy not only revitalizes history, it transforms it, turning its principal player into a flesh and blood defender of everything the republic stands for, and the target of a malevolent cabal that went awry long before the ill-fated night at Ford's Theatre. Fantastic. You’ll never look at Abraham Lincoln the same way again."—Les Standiford, bestselling author of Last Train to Paradise and Meet You in Hell

“Energetic . . . A brisk political thriller centered on a nefarious plot to murder Lincoln before his inauguration . . . A sharply drawn episode.”Kirkus Reviews

"Meltzer and Mensch maintain suspense despite the known outcome of the story, and convincingly counter claims that Pinkerton made the whole thing up for publicity purposes. Readers new to the 'Baltimore Plot' will appreciate this comprehensive and well-written overview."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


Spencer County, Indiana

January 20, 1828

Young Abraham Lincoln is freezing.

In an isolated rural region near Little Pigeon Creek in Spencer County, Indiana, he’s outside, laboring in the cold.


About the author

Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

BRAD MELTZER is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Escape Artist, The Inner Circle, and many other bestselling thrillers, as well as the Ordinary People Change the World series. He is also the host of the History Channel TV shows Brad Meltzer’s Decoded and Brad Meltzer’s Lost History, which he used to help find the missing 9/11 flag that the firefighters raised at Ground Zero.

JOSH MENSCH is a New York Times bestselling author and documentary television producer with a focus on American history and culture. He is coauthor with Brad Meltzer of The First Conspiracy: the Secret Plot to Kill George Washington. For television he has written, directed, and been a showrunner on nonfiction series for PBS, the History Channel, National Geographic, and many other networks. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and children.

Michelle Watson, Catchlight Group
Mary Robertson

Josh Mensch

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