Edward Achorn, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Commentary and winner of the Yankee Quill Award, is the vice president and editorial pages editor of The Providence Journal. He is the author of two acclaimed books about nineteenth century baseball and American culture, Fifty-nine in '84 and The Summer of Beer and Whiskey. He lives in an 1840s farmhouse in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
Praise for Every Drop of Blood An Economist Best Book of the Year An Amazon Best Book of the Month (History) Richly detailed . . . In elegant, episodic detail, Mr. Achorn captures both the immediate experiences of those who attended the inaugural and the recent memories that colored everything they saw and felt, heard and said. --Adam Rowe, Wall Street Journal A lively guided tour of Washington during the 24 hours or so around Lincoln's swearing-in . . . Achorn has a journalist's gift for finding just the right quotation. He deftly fishes memorable descriptions--often less-than-flatting ones--out of 19th-century newspapers and diaries, especially as he introduces the most distinguished residents of the nation's capital. --Adam Goodheart, Washington Post A fascinating account of an address which entered the national consciousness . . . Achorn has done Lincoln justice, distilling the essence of the speech in a reflection Lincoln would have understood. --John S. Gardner, Guardian Achorn, a noted editor and author, does a splendid job of recreating the atmosphere and experience of being in Washington on the day before and the day of Lincoln's second inauguration. He has a gift for evocative, elaborate detail, and his descriptions of Washington--from a canal of stinking sewage to the new Capitol dome to the brothels and the various social functions--give readers a full flavor of the good and the plentifully ugly. --Steve Forbes, Forbes Achorn has delivered a readable study that breaks new ground, is lively, contains interesting engaging prose, ably illuminates the topic, and makes the subject accessible to anyone. This reviewer highly recommends this new study. --Civil War News An exemplary account of this critical moment in Lincoln's presidency . . . [Achorn's] book captures not only the true essence of this dramatic and traumatic time period in American history, but also the metamorphosis of a presidential inauguration that should be read and cherished by all Americans . . . Achorn's innate ability to weave memorable stories and personalities together in Every Drop of Blood creates an intimate tale for readers. More impressively, it leads to a new chapter in this great president's life that will stand the test of time. --Washington Times A masterful narrative of the day, weaving together a cast of characters and events in a compelling work that reads like hands-on reportage from a writer who was on the scene. Achorn magnifies his writing with fresh research, including personal recollections by eyewitnesses and newspaper accounts of the day . . . Achorn's work is as epic as the topic deserves. His research is remarkable, telling the wider story through minute details and moments of deep meaning . . . A welcome addition to the voluminous canon of Lincoln books. Through these pages Achorn transforms readers into spectators of history as it unfolds. --New York Journal of Books Every Drop of Blood, despite the imagery of its title, isn't about battles. Its primary focus is on Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4, 1865, the day before and the day of Lincoln's second inauguration, and the speech he would deliver that day . . . Achorn analyzes the speech as an artifact of its time and author. He tracks its imagery and explores how and why Lincoln chose the words he used . . . A good read in our own era, reminding us that no matter how badly divided we feel now, as a nation we've been through worse. --Providence Journal Its strength lies less in the events themselves than in the elaborate detail and rich historical context that he musters . . . By the end, as well as mourning Lincoln's fate, American readers might wish for another chance at politics without malice and with charity to all. --Economist Invaluable . . . A small masterpiece, brilliant in concept and exquisite in execution . . . With skill and massive research, Achorn brings it all into one place on one day for us to see, feel, and ponder. --InsideSources Wholly unique, compelling, and revealing . . . Essential reading about the doomed president's final days in office and the bloody end of the Civil War . . . A significant achievement. --Times-News Achorn's rich, polyphonic history covers the sumptuous social events as well as the prisoners of war on the muddy streets and the injured languishing in ill-prepared hospitals. --National Book Review Drawing on historical wizardry--diaries, accounts, and memoirs--Achorn has assembled a prismatic portrait of that fateful day which reads like one long rolling dolly shot of history. --Literary Hub Meticulously chronicles President Lincoln's March 1865 inauguration in this kaleidoscopic history. Drawing from diaries, letters, memoirs, and newspaper reports, Achorn frames a poignant yet familiar portrait of Lincoln with the accounts of several figures who converged in Washington, D.C., for the inaugural address . . . He skillfully plumbs his sources for colorful details and draws memorable character sketches. History buffs will savor this evocative narrative. --Publishers Weekly The author provides rich description of a wide cast of people, including politicians, poets, soldiers, and nurses . . . Achorn is especially insightful in setting the scene for the inaugural, going deep inside the social world of the capital and remarking on the constant positioning for favor or notice . . . A solid history that will allow readers to feel as if they are in the moment. --Library Journal A vigorous, fresh look at a critical time in American history. --Kirkus Reviews Achorn provides a rich, heavily psychological portrait [of Lincoln] . . . A moving chronicle of the country on the eve of assassination. --Booklist It is hard to imagine anyone saying anything new about Abraham Lincoln, the most written-about figure in American history. But Edward Achorn has done it. No one has ever placed Lincoln's Second Inaugural in such a full and rich context as he has. Achorn recreates the sights, sounds, smells, and the feel of everything, and his Lincoln was never more real. This is the work of a superb imaginative historian. --Gordon S. Wood, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire of Liberty This richly detailed account of the events surrounding Lincoln's second inaugural address focuses on the many notable and obscure personalities present in Washington as the Civil War neared its end, including such opposites as Frederick Douglass and John Wilkes Booth, whose lives intersected with Lincoln's in dramatically contrasting ways. --James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom A lively, highly readable account of the people, events--and threats--surrounding Lincoln's second inauguration. --Joanne Freeman, author of The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War Prize-worthy. Achorn is erudite and empathetic, and the book is chock-full of information and telling insights. Achorn sets the scene for the greatest inaugural address in American history. --Frank J. Williams, founder of The Lincoln Forum and author of Judging Lincoln A magisterial analysis not only of Lincoln's second inaugural but of the context in which it was given. Achorn's keen eye for the meaningful detail reveals new layers of meaning to both a familiar speech and the divided nation that received them. His gift for telling a good story makes it a must-read for historians and general readers alike. --Maury Klein, author of Days of Defiance and A Call to Arms