"Leonard skillfully and meticulously reconstructs Holt's 84-year life . . . . Judge Advocate General Holt will no longer be forgotten."
-Civil War Book Review
"[With] Leonard's skillful research and careful assessment. . . . Joseph Holt will no longer remain an obscure figure."
-Journal of American History
"[A] well-written, scholarly, and well-documented book. . . . Highly recommended for both academic and general readers interested in the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Lincoln assassination, and legal history."
-The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"[Leonard] has admirably brought Holt to life. . . . A sympathetic and sensible reading of a difficult personality and the making of federal legal power, recommended for serious readers and university libraries."
"Leonard's book is biography at its best in that it illustrates, informs, and deepens the written history of the American people and one's understanding of human nature."
-Journal of Illinois History
"A captivating biography of Joseph Holt. . . . Displaying the dexterity of an accomplished historian, Leonard reconstructs Holt's personal life to reveal a fascinating portrait of the type of representative--but not "great"--man who was instrumental in constructing the modern American nation."
-The Annals of Iowa
"An outstanding example of how even a diffident life like Holt's can be made emblematic of great themes in an era of great conflict."
-Civil War News
"A well-written and compelling biography. . . . Leonard skillfully illuminates, in a readable and engaging fashion, aspects of Holt and his world. . . . A useful book, both for the classroom and a popular audience."
"Joseph Holt was a fascinating fellow who found himself thrust into the midst of extraordinary events. A staunch Kentucky Unionist surrounded by secessionists, this brilliant attorney entered the public stage as part of the Buchanan administration, and rose to national prominence--and historic significance--as Abraham Lincoln's judge advocate general. For too long historians have neglected Holt's career. Until now. Elizabeth Leonard has done a superb job of capturing the life of one of the Civil War era's most significant and intriguing public men."--J. Matthew Gallman, University of Florida, author of Northerners at War: Reflections on the Civil War Home Front
From the Inside Flap
Joseph Holt, the stern, brilliant, and deeply committed Unionist from Kentucky, spent the first several months of the American Civil War successfully laboring to maintain Kentucky's loyalty to the Union, then went on to serve as President Lincoln's judge advocate general. In Lincoln's Forgotten Ally
, Elizabeth Leonard offers the first full-scale biography of Holt, who has long been overlooked and misunderstood by historians and students of the war.