Thursday, April 24, 2014


The printing is done on Lincoln's Most Famous Case. I received my complimentary copies today, and the books will be in the hands of the bookstores on the 30th. It was well produced, and I am quite satisfied with it. In case you're interested in the substance of the book, here is an annotated table of contents.

Chapter 1: Murder at a Whiskey Camp -- States the facts of the murder of Preston Metzker in the light most favorable to the prosecution.

Chapter 2: Lincoln the Cross-Examiner -- Retells the mythic story of how Lincoln won the Almanac Trial with a brilliant cross-examination which utterly destroyed the witness.

Chapter 3: Lincoln the Orator -- Retells the mythic story of how Lincoln snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the Almanac Trial by shredding the prosecution case with a masterful final argument.

Chapter 4: Lincoln the Trickster -- Retells the unflattering story of how Lincoln perverted justice in the Almanac Trial by use of a forged almanac.

Of course, the rest of the book is devoted to sorting out which, if any, of these three stories is true.

Chapter 5: The Hagiography of the Trial -- Traces the telling and retelling of the story of the Almanac Trial by biographers seeking to turn Lincoln into a cardboard saint.

Chapter 6: The Historiography of the Trial -- Traces the critical analysis of the story of the Almanac Trial by more critical biographers.

Chapter 7: Lincoln and the Clary's Grove Boys -- Tells the story of how Lincoln started on his pathway to the presidency by contesting a wrestling match.

Chapter 8: The Camp Meeting -- Describes the camp meeting outside which the murder occurred and gives a thumbnail sketch of the history of camp meetings during the nineteenth century.

Chapter 9: The Prosecution -- Traces the course of the prosecution from arrest up to the commencement of the trial.

Chapter 10: The Trial Begins -- Describes how Lincoln became involved in the trial and begins to reconstruct the story of the trial itself.

Chapter 11: The Famous Cross-Examination -- Examines the story of the brilliant cross-examination in detail and decides whether it actually happened.

Chapter 12: The Misplaced Moon -- Examines the story of the forged almanac and determines how Lincoln actually used the almanac.

Chapter 13: Winning the Almanac Trial -- Analyzes how the acquittal was actually obtained and examines additional accusations of unethical conduct against Lincoln.

Chapter 14: Was Armstrong Guilty? -- Decides whether Lincoln freed a murderer and whether it really makes any difference to his legacy as a trial lawyer.

Appendix A: The Statements of the Major Participants -- Reproduces the letters, statements, and interviews of the key players in the trial so that the reader may make up his or her own mind about the facts of the trial.

Appendix B: Selected Documents from the Armstrong Court File -- Transcribes the more important  documents from the Almanac Trial court file and illustrates the course of the prosecution.

Appendix C: The Oral History of the Armstrongs -- Examines the statements of members of the Armstrong family and shows how the family's oral history of the trial differs from the historical record.

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