Lincoln's Last Trial by Dan Abrams

Lincoln's Last Trial

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 trial...

Details Lincoln's Last Trial

TitleLincoln's Last Trial
Release DateJun 5th, 2018
PublisherHanover Square Press
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Biography, Historical, Crime, True Crime, North American Hi..., American History

Reviews Lincoln's Last Trial

  • Darwin8u
    "Talk to the jury as though your client's fate depends on every word you utter. Forget that you have any one to fall back upon, and you will do justice to yourself and your client."- Abraham LincolnThere are many levels of biography and history. There are academic books, published by small academic presses. There are popular biographies, written by journalists, etc., that tend to follow a more narrative-style. Obviously, Dan Abram's short history...
  • Annmarie
    The 2 star rating is more of an average than anything. This book deserves at least 4.5 stars for presenting a legal case that is interesting enough on its own, let alone because it includes insights into Abraham Lincoln pre-presidency. I was quickly caught up in the case and kept reading out of a real desire to know how it would end. The authors balance the account of the trial with interesting asides about the history of the U.S. legal system, s...
  • Shoshana
    What a fascinating book this is. Reading like a novel, it reveals the history of a murder case in which Abraham Lincoln defended an accused young man in Springfield, Illinois, in 1859. Due to the great good fortune of a transcript of the trial being found in the 1980’s, we are able to follow the trial almost verbatim from that hot summer so long ago.Before the development of stenography, verbatim transcripts of trials simply didn’t exist. We ...
  • Nathan Albright
    [Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Edelweiss/Hanover Square.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]The title of this book is not entirely accurate.  While this was the last sensational case that Lincoln handled as an attorney before his nomination for the presidency, he had a few smaller cases after this one finished in the summer of 1859.  Also, it is a bit of a stretch to say that this case propelled him to the presidency, al...
  • Alina
    As a person who has never heard of Lincoln's last murder case, I found this book very informative. Not only Abe Lincoln was yet again proven to be a great leader but he had an amazing ability to win a case that was set for failure from the beginning.For those who do not know the case, Peachy Quinn Harrison had stabbed Greek Crafton during a fight. Days earlier the two had another clash during town's gathering and both made treats against each oth...
  • Jay
    You can see how this book was put together. The author did a prodigious amount of research to put this together. He had a good place to start. The trial in focus was one of the first in downstate Illinois that had a trial transcript. It wasn’t complete in our sense of modern court transcripts – the closing arguments weren’t captured – but the trial, with teams of lawyers on both sides, was captured in detail. The authors then researched t...
  • Nick
    I read this from an ARC from the publisher, not the final sales edition.This work of narrative non-fiction is very readable, but has a bibliography that made me wonder a bit. About half of the sources listed are internet versions of things, some of which are merely online versions of books, but others are articles which, themselves, would have to be checked for veracity.In any case, what the two authors have done is take the facts of a real murde...
  • Lee
    Lincoln's Last Trial was my third Lincoln book this year, but like the others had its own purpose that provided a focus and insight on Lincoln that made it a worthy read. It's also a very easy read, written mostly like a novel, and can be read in just a few sittings. Lincoln tried 27 murder trials, mostly as a defense lawyer, and this book focuses on his last murder case, which he tried less than one year before being nominated as the Republican ...
  • Mike
    Just when you thought there was not another angle to find to write a new Lincoln book, here is a book that looks at the last major trial Lincoln was involved with as a lawyer before he became President. The story tries to work like a novel and uses transcriptions from the trial in an attempt to do that.The trial itself is a self-defense/murder trail so there is never any mystery other than whether or not the accused will be found not-guilty by re...
  • Eugenea Pollock
    Here is a very small part of why I enjoyed this book: “...Hitt’s original transcript of the trial was...discovered in 1989 in a shoebox stored in the garage of the... defendant’s great-grandson.” (Hitt was the equivalent of the court reporter.)
  • Mudkip
    Best Non Fiction Book of 2018 (for me)
  • Jennifer
    Decent overall - some parts I found really boring, but it was interesting take on Lincoln as a lawyer and the history of the criminal justice system.
  • Mina Wender
    Short Lincoln taleInteresting view of the state of law in mid 1800s and the intersection of the lives of the main players thereafter. Bathe story is well told.
  • Ross
    I selected this book with the understanding that it was history, but it turned out to be a novel.Albeit an historical novel, but still a novel with more than 50% of the text made up by the author.I gave up reading novels 15 years ago to concentrate on nonfiction in which I learned something that had actually occurred, mostly history or science where I learned something about reality.I did read this whole book, however, because I am such a great f...
  • Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
    I received a free digital copy of this text via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Fantastic read, full review to come.+++++++++++++See my full review here:https://allthebookblognamesaretaken.b...
  • Robert Gelms
    The Only Honest Man in IllinoisBy Bob Gelms Abraham Lincoln is THE towering figure in American history. Nobody else comes close. Everyone in America knows him as a politician, and a pretty good one at that. Everyone in American also knows that Abe Lincoln was a lawyer but most don’t know what he did as an attorney. For all they know, Mr. Lincoln wrote wills and handled divorces. Uh…well…he did do wills and divorces along with adoptions, tru...
  • David Kent
    This was an engaging book that will give people who are not Lincoln scholars some insight into his personality and legal prowess. It will reach a broad audience, and that is a good thing. For scholars, the book is enjoyable to read; it's fluid, light style making it one that can be quickly read. The case is one generally not discussed in much detail in more comprehensive books, so peaks the interest of those who know Lincoln.Overall, the book is ...
  • Kristen
    Lincoln's Last Trial is an account of the 1859 trial of Simeon Quinn "Peachy" Harrison whom Lincoln successfully defended against the charge of murder in the stabbing death of Greek Crafton. While this was not technically Lincoln's last trial, it was his last murder trial. An although it is a stretch to say that the trial propelled him to the presidency, it is fair to say that it was a very high profile trial and the visibility and winning the ca...
  • skketch
    ***NOVEL THOUGHTS***3.5Much of this story is told by the careful observations of R.R. Hitt, whose role as a stenographer and the meticulous record keeping during the trial of the State v Harrison, put Abraham Lincoln into the national spotlight in the years just prior to the 1860 elections which would ultimately make Lincoln the 16th president of the United States. The authors Abrams and Fisher give the little town of Pleasant Plains, Ill. and it...
  • Kathy
    Lincoln's Last Trial is a well-written, compelling telling of Lincoln's last major case (a murder trial) prior to his election as the 16th President. Told through the point of view of Robert Hitt, scribe to the trial, whose handwritten manuscript of the trial discovered in 1989 is the basis of the book, we learn how well-respected Lincoln was as a lawyer and a man. His decades long law practice had spread his reputation far and wide in Illinois, ...
  • Kristen
    Maybe more like 2.5 stars. I was really intrigued by the concept - a handwritten transcript of Lincoln's last murder trial, hidden away in a garage until it was found again in 1989! I mean, that's crazy. This could've been a really great book, and therein lies its biggest problem. The book's introduction tells you that every word spoken during the trial is a word-for-word of the transcript. Other conversations, the author (and his ghostwriter) ha...
  • Matt Chester
    The decision to pick up this book and read it was 100% influenced by the fact that I'm currently sitting on the jury of a trial that's been going on for weeks, so all of a sudden I find myself more interested in the legal process and where some of the courtroom norms come from. That said, reading about Lincoln's days as a lawyer and how it was that career that launched his eventual Presidency, rather than an extensive career in politics, was real...
  • Keith
    This book was so much fun to read that I zipped through it in a day. The story of Abraham Lincoln's last major trial before securing the nomination for president and the office itself, it not only brings Lincoln's skill as a criminal trial lawyer to life, it's also an interesting story in and of itself of a terribly poignant fight and killing between two young Springfield area men who were often friends. To make it all the more fascinating, the d...
  • Barbara Heerman
    The murder trial described in the book is an interesting case. We don't learn much about the accused; we learn a lot about the victim. The writing style is stilted, lessening this reader's interest. Although a long bibliography is presented, and they assert that every fact is checked, I am wondering how the authors knew that the judge wore only his undergarments under his robe. They do a lot to discuss the state of jurisprudence in IL and nation ...
  • Carolyn
    *Disclaimer: I received my copy of this book after winning a free giveaway here on Goodreads.* As someone who is deeply fascinated by and interested in Abraham Lincoln, I was so excited to read this book. Lincoln's law career has been the subject of relatively little scholarly examination, at least in comparison to his presidency. And while this discrepancy is certainly understandable, I was thrilled to read an in-depth look at his last trial. Ov...
  • Ethan Moser
    LINCOLN’S LAST TRIAL is a meticulously accurate account of the final murder trial conducted by Abraham Lincoln as a defense lawyer. Having grown up in and around the historic town of Gettysburg, PA, Lincoln has always been a figure constructed in my mind, unchanging and static, but Abrams and Fisher have rocked the very foundation of that mindset. They make an honest effort to avoid regurgitating the Lincoln legends that have become so engraine...
  • Chaim Shapiro
    This book is well written and it is an enjoyable read. Abrams chose to tell the story from the perspective of the trail stenographer, Rober Hitt, which brought an interesting perspective.At one point in the book, Abrams noted that the stenographers were taught to be careful not to falsely attribute quotations in their notes. Abrams should have followed that advice himself. For some reason, Abrams created dialogue and quotations throughout the boo...
  • Jan Taylor
    This book intrigued me because of it's sincere attempt at accuracy, rather than just another attempt at what some call historical fiction. Transcripts of the trial were used, when available, and the parties to the trial/crime were fleshed out very well. I enjoyed the in-depth description of the crime, and got a good feel for the personalities of the actors. Also fascinating was the way trial were conducted during that time period, 1859, just prio...
  • Richard
    The book is based on the excellent transcript of this famous 1859 trial, one of the first trials to be recorded in this manner. Robert Roberts Hitt had transcribed the Lincoln-Douglas debates, which made him a natural to set down the words of the man who might be President. Hitt studied under Pittman to use the 18th Century version of voice recognition that allows to hear the arguments used by Lincoln in the court room.The facts were only in disp...
  • John Deardurff
    The title of the book can be misleading and cause some to think this is a book about Lincoln. It is more the tale of the court transcriber, Robert Roberts Hitt and his transcript of the Peachy Quinn Harrison murder trial. Written in a form of a novel, the book takes a real-life courtroom drama that happens to feature a future president to create an exploration into the pre-Civil War legal systems that were being developed in the circuit courts of...