October 3, 2016

Exploring Darkness in History: a guest post by Jason Parent, author of "Wrathbone and Other Stories"

Terror follows those who let it into their hearts.
Guests of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris attend a showing of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865. On that fateful night, a great man falls, but he is not alone. For Henry and Clara, the night is only the beginning of lives wrought with jealousy, madness, and horror.
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Exploring Darkness in History
by Jason Parent, Author of Wrathbone and Other Stories
History is what we read in books. Whether it tells an accurate story is a debate for people smarter than me, but one thing’s for sure: it never tells the whole story.
Who’s heard of Major Henry Reed Rathbone? His wife, Clara Harris? I certainly hadn’t in school. Only American Civil War buffs, and particularly those fascinated with the Lincoln assassination, are likely familiar with poor, insignificant Henry.
Sure, we all learn about the great conspiracy to kill the man some call America’s greatest president. We know who conspired, how it was done, how Booth nearly got away. We know the name of the theater, the play being performed, the words supposedly said by the assassin as he dashed across the stage and through a dumbfounded crowd. So many trivial details, down to the color of Mary Todd’s dress.
Yet aside from the First Lady, Lincoln’s company at Ford’s Theatre the evening of April 14, 1865 is strikingly absent from many American history textbooks. Where it is mentioned, Henry and Clara are, at best, mere footnotes.
Why wouldn’t the annals of our forefathers chronicle the heroic actions of the only person who did anything in that theater to try and stop Booth and was gravely wounded for his thankless efforts? Have historians swept him under the rug because of the darkness that followed?
Oh, but that darkness is so much more interesting. In Wrathbone and Other Stories, I explore that darkness. Who was Henry Reed Rathbone truly? What set his life on a course wrought with terror and madness? What lessons can we learn from the undisclosed truth? For the night Lincoln was shot, he wasn’t the only great man to fall.

In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.
In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it's harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he's back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that's another story.
When he's not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody's head off - he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.
Please visit the author on Facebook, on Twitter, or at his website for information regarding upcoming events or releases, or if you have any questions or comments for him. 

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