Fun fact about myself: I once seriously considered being a lawyer. I find law fascinating, and I love the idea of defending people who deserve it. However, ‘twas not to be. Still, I really do enjoy books that focus on the law. I will eventually write some reviews of the John Grisham novels I’ve read, but for today, I’m going to focus on some non-fiction.
This was another one I read for my book club. Lincoln’s Last Trial focuses, as the title suggests, on Abraham Lincoln’s last murder trial before he became the President of the United States. Because of who he was, this became a trial that was followed all over the country. The book gives an in-depth look at who Lincoln was and how he argued cases. It was fascinating. One of my favorite things about it was that the authors would talk about the difference between law today and law then. They point out that the nation was still fairly new; law was still being cemented, especially self-defense law.
Lincoln’s Last Trial is told from the perspective of Robert Hitt, the stenographer for the trial. It is because of Mr. Hitt’s work that we have such detailed information about the trial. His career was a relatively new one, and he took a great deal of pride in it. Over 150 years later, we’re able to experience the minutiae of the trial. We can hear witness testimony and see Lincoln’s reactions. We get to taste his style as a lawyer.
I will say that I was probably the person most excited by this book in my book club. Everyone liked it alright, but I enjoyed it most - mostly because of my interest in law. Most people in my club were dissatisfied with the ending. While most of the trial is carefully recorded by Mr. Hitt, he was not required to record the closing statements. The book states that closing statements went for hours, but we aren’t told what exactly was said. It didn’t really bother me because the gist was given and the verdict was told, but I can see why the missing closing statements would be upsetting.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history or American law or both. I found it fascinating, intriguing, and informational. Which is probably the lamest adjective ever used, but it is also correct. You will be both entertained and educated with this book.