Two years ago, when Bryan Young explained the assassination of Abraham Lincoln to his 8-year-old daughter after his trip to Ford’s Theatre in Washington, he was surprised by how fascinated she was.
“That was the first time she realized that presidential assassination was a thing that could happen and that it was a thing that had happened in history,” Young said. “She wanted to know about who would do such a thing, and why would they do such a thing.”
Soon, Young can give his daughter, and other kids her age, the answers. In An Illustrated History of Presidential Assassinations, out early next year, Young writes about U.S. presidents who survived assassination attempts (and the ones who didn’t) in a style that’s equal parts history textbook and bedtime story.
The book begins with the first attempted assassination of a president in U.S. history. In 1835, Richard Lawrence, delirious from paint chemicals and convinced he was meant to be King Richard III of England, shot at Andrew Jackson after a congressman’s funeral on Capitol Hill.
Jackson was leaving the Capitol through the East Portico when Lawrence struck, firing his first pistol…
…but it misfired!
Pulling his second pistol, he fired again…
…but it misfired, too!
Not one to take such actions lightly, Jackson hit Lawrence with his cane, chasing him around and hitting him until the onlookers could restrain the would-be assassin. Fortunately for everyone, Congressman Davy Crocket, hero of the frontier, was there and was able to subdue Lawrence with the other onlookers.
The book documents the most famous assassination victims, like Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. It also chronicles attempts with (under the circumstances) happy endings, like the time Theodore Roosevelt gave a 90-minute speech while bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest. And the time Samuel Byck hijacked a plane to fly into Richard Nixon’s White House. And the time John Hinckley Jr. fired a bullet that missed Ronald Reagan’s heart by an inch.
Last month, Young began raising money for the book on Kickstarter, a fundraising website. He reached his goal of $3,000 within 10 days. With less than a week to go until the campaign closes, the people of the Internet have pledged $5,238. Young said he was surprised by the response, but thinks there are parents — and people in general — like him out there who like seeing history packaged in a quirky way. Especially political history, which he says carries a certain stigma.
“In today’s day and age with such a divisive political landscape, I think people forget that we have a shared history, and that it doesn’t have to be divisive or uncomfortable,” Young said. “It can be interesting or fun even though the topic is grim.”
What We're Following See More »
"North Korea says it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to close its nuclear test site. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said the suspension of nuclear and ICBM tests went into effect Saturday." The announcement comes shortly before Kim Jong Un "is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a border truce village for a rare summit aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang."
"Republican megadonor Foster Friess has told party leaders in Wyoming that he plans to run for governor," and is expected to make an announcement this afternoon. Friess has donated "millions of dollars to Republican candidates and causes over the last decade, according to federal campaign finance records," including over "$1.7 million to boost Santorum's [presidential] campaign" in 2016. Gov. Matt Mead (R) is term-limited, and "a handful of Republicans are running in an open primary to succeed him in one of the reddest states in the country."
Four Palestinian protestors have been killed by Israeli fire near the Gaza-Israel border, bringing the death toll to 38, in what marks the "fourth consecutive week of Gaza's March of Return mass protests." The marches are part of a "month-and-a-half-long protest organized by Hamas near the border fence," which organizers have said will not stop before May 15. The marches are intended to emulate anti-apartheid protests in South Africa, and to commemorate the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948, during the establishment of the State of Israel.
"Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe is looking to sue for defamation, wrongful termination and other possible civil claims, his lawyer told reporters Friday." McCabe's attorney Michael Bromwich said that his team "hasn't managed to find any witnesses to corroborate McCabe's version of the story," although they have not had enough time to do so. "McCabe’s lawyers are also seeking ways to release the emails between McCabe and Comey, which would offer insight into their communication about the leaks to the Wall Street Journal."
"The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump. The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there." The DNC is seeking "millions of dollars in compensation to offset damage it claims the party suffered from the hacks," and is arguing the cyberattack" undermined its ability to communicate with voters, collect donations and operate effectively as its employees faced personal harassment and, in some cases, death threats."