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Judah P. Benjamin - The Jewish Confederate [Hardcover]

by Eli N. Evans
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)


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Book Description

February 8, 1988 0029088801 978-0029088807
This biography was acclaimed by The New York Times as "deeply interesting" and "an absorbing account" of the life of the man called "the brains of the Confederacy." 16 pages of illustrations.


Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This well-written and well-researched volume replaces Robert Meade's biography (1943) as the standard study and is a significant contribution both to Southern Jewish and Civil War history. Unlike previous biographers, Evans sees Jewishness as the key to understanding Benjamin's life. He also traces in fascinating detail Benjamin's relationship with Jefferson Davis. Sometimes, Evans moves beyond the available evidence, e.g. when he adduces Jewish reasons for Benjamin's flight, and argues that in the wake of the Lincoln assassination "a nation of Christ-haunted people searched instinctively for the Jewish scapegoat." Nevertheless, this is highly convincing overall. For most libraries. Jonathan D. Sarna, Hebrew Union Coll . -Jewish Inst. of Religion, Cincinnati
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 467 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (February 8, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0029088801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029088807
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #842,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judah P. Benjamin: Unsung and Remarkable American February 15, 2004
Format:Hardcover
Judah P. Benjamin is little remembered for his service to the United States of America, the Confederate States of America, and the United Kingdom. Born in the West Indies, he ended his life as Queen's Counsel in Great Britain. In between, he came to Charleston, South Carolina, studied law in New Orleans, became the first Jewish Senator--from antebellum Louisiana. Surprised? I was. Then, service as Attorney General, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State of the Confederate States of America. Almost universally well-liked and respected, the "smiling lion" whose face adorns every Confederate $2 bill (you can check your collection); this was a most remarkable Victorian American, in all respects.
Frequently the brunt of castigation in newspapers for problems with military supply and ordnance, probably trailing close behind Jefferson Davis (also a former U.S. Senator) himself, this book is a very intriguing and documented biography. Sadly now out of print, I still highly recommend it to any student of the Civil War, the Confederacy, the history of Jews in America, jurisprudence (he wrote a book on Contracts that is still important in the United Kingdom)...he should not be forgotten. Judah P. Benjamin was a spirited man who made the most of his talents (even marrying into Catholic New Orleans aristocracy) and yet is known by few, and probably understood by even fewer.
He is as much a part of American history and identity as Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Sam Houston. However, don't look for a film about him to come out from Hollywood anytime soon. You'll have to read the book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find out who this fellow was, you will be amazed June 30, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a life this man lead. When I saw him on the Confederate $2 bill i wondered, who is this fellow. We are not taught about the second tear of US and Confederate greats so you have to find out for yourself about fellows like Benjamin.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judah P. Benjamin, the Jewish Confederate July 20, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Many consider Judah P. Benjamin "the Brains behind the Confederacy". The author, Eli N Evans also wanted to covey how the Jewish people interacted with their Southern neighbors. Charleston, SC was the first community in America to grant Jews the right to vote and to permit them to engage in any trade of their choosing.

Judah P. Benjamin (1811-84) grew up in Charleston, attended Yale University for two years and was at the top of his class when he abrutly left. His leaving Yale under mysterious circumstances caused considerable speculation that haunted him in public life as a Senator from Louisiana and later as as the Treasurer and Secretary State of the Confederacy.

Young, Judah P. Benjamin arrived in New Orleans in 1828 with five dollars in his pocket. New Orleans was permissive, raucous and a mystical place whose population grew from 50,000 to 100,000 between 1830 to 1840. Benjamin could not have picked a better place to begin his career. Benjamin worked odd jobs, as a teacher, processing accounts in a mercantile house, and finally as a law clerk. He constantly read all the law books he could get his hands on and soon mastered the complex Napoleonic Code which required mastery of French Language. A wealthy Creole official asked Benjamin to teach English to his daughter, Natalie. He agreed to this arrangement under the condition that she would teach him French while he taught her English. Benjamin was 21 and Natalie was 16. The tutoring lessons soon evolved into a courtship.

Benjamin soon became one the best lawyers in New Orleans and one of its wealthiest citizens. In 1842 Benjamin was elected to the Louisian legislature as a Whig.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Spirit and Will June 13, 2012
By Squire
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A little know individual in a losing cause, but a significant player. Judah P. Benjamin, whose friendship and loyalty played a major role in TWBTS. His talent is noteworthy and pervasive, creating a life for himself as significant after defeat. A truly great demonstration of WILL. Read this only if your current view is of battles and generals. You may gain a different perspective.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Benjamin, Glue of the Confederacy June 26, 2013
By Bert
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author is a UNC classmate of mine, fellow Naval Officer, and an ancestor of this brilliant Southern leader.
The character of the South, genius of leadership, and personal sacrifices our forefathers made for our beloved " Dixie " are reflected in this book. The book is a favorite of mine. Read it, you will get to know lots about our heritage as Americans and Southerners. An exciting read
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