The true story of Abraham Lincoln’s last murder trial, a strange case in which he had a deep personal involvement—and which was played out in the nation’s newspapers as he began his presidential campaign.
At the end of the summer of 1859, twenty-two-year-old Peachy Quinn Harrison went on trial for murder in Springfield, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln, who had been involved in more than three thousand cases—including more than twenty-five murder trials—during his two-decades-long career, was hired to defend him. This was to be his last great case as a lawyer.
What normally would have been a local case took on momentous meaning. Lincoln’s debates with Senator Stephen Douglas the previous fall had gained him a national following, transforming the little-known, self-taught lawyer into a respected politician. He was being urged to make a dark-horse run for the presidency in 1860. Taking this case involved great risk. His reputation was untarnished, but should he lose this trial, should Harrison be convicted of murder, the spotlight now focused so brightly on him might be dimmed. He had won his most recent murder trial with a daring and dramatic maneuver that had become a local legend, but another had ended with his client dangling from the end of a rope.
The case posed painful personal challenges for Lincoln. The murder victim had trained for the law in his office, and Lincoln had been his friend and his mentor. His accused killer, the young man Lincoln would defend, was the son of a close friend and loyal supporter. And to win this trial he would have to form an unholy allegiance with a longtime enemy, a revivalist preacher he had twice run against for political office—and who had bitterly slandered Lincoln as an “infidel…too lacking in faith” to be elected.
Lincoln’s Last Trial captures the presidential hopeful’s dramatic courtroom confrontations in vivid detail as he fights for his client—but also for his own blossoming political future. It is a moment in history that shines a light on our legal system, as in this case Lincoln fought a legal battle that remains incredibly relevant today.
|Publisher:||Hanover Square Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Dan Abrams is the CEO and founder of Abrams Media and chief legal affairs anchor for ABC News. He is also the host of both 60 Days In and Live PD on the A&E network. A graduate of Columbia University Law School, he is the author of the Washington Post bestseller Man Down and has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and the Yale Law and Policy Review, among many others. He lives in New York.
David Fisher is the author of more than twenty New York Times bestsellers. His work has also appeared in most major magazines and many newspapers. He lives in New York with his wife and two sons.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Enjoyed the book. Learned some new Lincoln history during a period, 1859, that set him up for the presidency. Worth every penny!
Great read Really enjoyed learning about Licoln as a lawyer
My wife grew up in Springfield. She always thought of Lincoln as her neighbor living on the same street on a few blocks away. This book really tells about Lincoln before he became President. After reading many Lincoln books this one shares what life was like for Lincoln to live and work in Illinois in the early 1800’s. It is like getting to know him as a person as well as a president. I hardly Put the book down until I finished reading it.
I felt like an audience member while reading this book in two days. I could feel the emotional waves while Lincoln spoke during his opening and closing statements and held my breath during his examinations of the witnesses. I no longer need to wish to have been born in another century. Thank you.
Very readable, interesting and a timely mirror on today's Republican policies and personalities. There is scant mention of Mary Todd Lincoln; several mentions during this book on Lincoln preferring to work rather than going home. The evolution of Honest Abe is detailed, and I hope, more accurate than not.
Was expecting to read a lot of Lincoln's actual words and arguments but there was very little. Found it quite boring