I picked up Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency by Dan Abrams because like many folks, Abraham Lincoln has been, and likely always will be, my favorite President.
This book seems to be following a trend of “news” people writing historical books. I certainly approve when it comes to the writings of Brian Kilmeade. I was expecting this book to have a liberal slant as Abrams is known for getting his opinion into his work on NBC. Instead, I found this to be a well-researched and well-written telling of the final murder trial of Abe Lincoln – the lawyer.
The story of the case itself is the backbone of the book and it is written in such a way to keep you enthralled right up through the final verdict. The hidden gems of Lincoln’s Last Trial are the real gold. (How’s that for a mixed metaphor? haha) In these, the reader learns much about the evolution of the US justice system as well as Mr. Lincoln’s career and style as an attorney and private citizen. In addition, the newly created role of court stenographer (which made this book possible) is altogether interesting.
This is a fascinating look at a fascinating man at a fascinating time in our country’s history. Abrams (more likely his co-author haha) does a great job of making this a page-turner. In that, is where I find the only fault of the book.
While doing their best to make it entertaining, the authors admit that this book is fiction. That is to say that liberties were taken with descriptions of someone wiping sweat from their brow, staring intently at the jurors etc. Those are things that are NOT in the transcript and instead, created from whole cloth. I liken it to the trend of movies these days “based on true events.” That and a “fictionalized nonfiction” book both mean the same thing… the big thing we are talking about happened for real, but the rest is pretty much bull.
Regardless, it is entertaining.
by Chris Doelle