Those Dangerous Loners

"I must have fame, fame!" cried John Wilkes Booth, and then established himself as the first of the modern American assassins. Though full of fustian about his love for the Confederacy (he managed to avoid fighting for it, or even living in it, during the Civil War), Booth was clear-headed and precise about the psychic rewards and second-hand renown that come with dispatching a famous man. "What a glorious opportunity for a man to immortalize himself by killing Abraham Lincoln!" he remarked two years before his crime.

Like Booth and unlike most assassins elsewhere...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!