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Lincoln's Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky (Civil War America) Hardcover – October 10, 2011
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[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.--Library Journal
[With] Leonard's skillful research and careful assessment. . . . Joseph Holt will no longer remain an obscure figure.--Journal of American 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
[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
A model of scholarly biography.--Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society
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 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.--Southern Historian
Leonard has done a great service to Holt and to modern readers by releasing his story from its reconciliationist captives. Holt's commitment to the Union. . . . reclaims the central tenet of Lincoln's willingness to go to war: preservation of the Union.--Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians
Leonard skillfully and meticulously reconstructs Holt's 87-year life. . . . Judge Advocate General Holt will no longer be forgotten.--Civil War Book Review
Elizabeth Leonard has rescued Joseph Holt from undeserved historical obscurity. A Kentucky Democrat and slaveholder before the Civil War, Holt became a staunch Unionist and Lincoln's efficient judge advocate general of the army. This biography powerfully brings to light the strong reputation he earned in the war and Reconstruction era.--James M. McPherson, Princeton University
Top Customer Reviews
Holt, as the prosecutor in the Lincoln assassination trials took a lot of criticism over the execution of Mrs. Surratt. Holt was adament in his desire to prosecute Jefferson Davis and other Confederate leaders but after what could be considered a rush to judgment in the Lincoln cases - Lincoln died on April 15 and the defendants were hung on July 7 - the national desire for punishment and retribution wained and the nation wanted to move on. After the ruling by the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Milligan - saying that civilians should not have been tired in military courts - Holts ability to function as Judge Advocate was severely limited. But during his tenure in office his department handled thousands of cases.
For those studing the Lincoln Assassination, the Coooperheads and post Civil War America, Holt and his life story is a wonderful addition.
It is Joseph Holt's legal service during Abraham Lincoln's time in office and its immediate aftermath that probably will be of most interest to current readers: especially in terms of the trials of those accused of assassinating President Lincoln, as well as the post-war legal fate of Jefferson Davis. If you have an interest in the death-sentence pardon controversy that enveloped Mary Surratt (the first woman to break through the glass trapdoor of federal punishment), this certainly would be a book to buy.
Judge Advocate General Holt's work during Johnson's Administration in providing a voice for justice on behalf the newly freed slaves in the South is nicely handled by Professor Leonard, who also reminds us of the terrible turn taken in race relations due to the retrograde policies of Andrew Johnson. A president who, to my mind, ranks as one of our country's worst, if not the worst.
As an aside, I note progress has been made in the Old South when a book such as this finds its way to the public via The University of North Carolina Press.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If i had not just completed reading the Lincoln's Avengers book by Dr. Leonard, I probably would have given this book 5 stars. Read morePublished 18 months ago by R.L.D.