Lincoln's Last Trial by Dan Abrams
The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency

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“Makes you feel as if you are watching a live camera riveted on a courtroom more than 150 years ago.” —Diane Sawyer

The true story of Abraham Lincoln’s last murder trial, a case in which he had a deep personal involvement—and which played out in the nation’s newspapers as he began his presidential campaign

At the end of the summer of 1859, twenty-two-year-old Peachy Quinn Harrison went on trial for murder in Springfield, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln, who had been involved in more than three thousand cases—including more than twenty-five murder trials—during his two-decades-long career, was hired to defend him. This was to be his last great case as a lawyer.

What normally would have been a local case took on momentous meaning. Lincoln’s debates with Senator Stephen Douglas the previous fall had gained him a national following, transforming the little-known, self-taught lawyer into a respected politician. He was being urged to make a dark-horse run for the presidency in 1860. Taking this case involved great risk. His reputation was untarnished, but should he lose this trial, should Harrison be convicted of murder, the spotlight now focused so brightly on him might be dimmed. He had won his most recent murder trial with a daring and dramatic maneuver that had become a local legend, but another had ended with his client dangling from the end of a rope.

The case posed painful personal challenges for Lincoln. The murder victim had trained for the law in his office, and Lincoln had been his friend and his mentor. His accused killer, the young man Lincoln would defend, was the son of a close friend and loyal supporter. And to win this trial he would have to form an unholy allegiance with a longtime enemy, a revivalist preacher he had twice run against for political office—and who had bitterly slandered Lincoln as an “infidel…too lacking in faith” to be elected.

Lincoln’s Last Trial captures the presidential hopeful’s dramatic courtroom confrontations in vivid detail as he fights for his client—but also for his own blossoming political future. It is a moment in history that shines a light on our legal system, as in this case Lincoln fought a legal battle that remains incredibly relevant today.

About Dan Abrams

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Dan Abrams is the legal analyst for Good Morning America and ABC News, as well as the founder of the Abrams Media Network. He has published articles in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, the American Lawyer, and the Yale Law and Policy Review, among many others. He has also written for online media such as the Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, and, of course, regularly for Mediaite. He is also the legal columnist for Men's Health magazine. Abrams, a Columbia University School of Law grad, was previously chief legal analyst for NBC News. He was general manager of MSNBC, during which time ratings grew by 62 percent and he branded the network "The Place for Politics." Prior to his management appointment, Abrams hosted The Abrams Report, a nightly legal affairs program, and later Verdict with Dan Abrams. In the past two years the Abrams Media Network has launched media news site, fashion and style site,,, and He is also the cofounder of, the first major website to police the gossip industry for inaccuracies in reporting. Dan has never been married, so despite his admiration for women, evidenced by this book, that does not mean he necessarily knows how to talk to them. Follow Dan on Twitter: @DanielAbrams.
Published June 1, 2018 by Hanover Square Press. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Jul 01 2018
Weeks as Bestseller

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Abrams, chief of legal affairs for ABC News and a contributor to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, is joined by Fisher, who has coauthored books with such celebrities a

Apr 20 2018 | Read Full Review of Lincoln's Last Trial: The Mur...

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