Lincoln's Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America (Paperback)
The untold story of how one sensational trial propelled a self-taught lawyer and a future president into the national spotlight.
In May of 1856, the steamboat Effie Afton barreled into a pillar of the Rock Island Bridge, unalterably changing the course of American transportation history. Within a year, long-simmering tensions between powerful steamboat interests and burgeoning railroads exploded, and the nation’s attention, absorbed by the Dred Scott case, was riveted by a new civil trial. Dramatically reenacting the Effie Afton case—from its unlikely inception, complete with a young Abraham Lincoln’s soaring oratory, to the controversial finale—this “masterful” (Christian Science Monitor) account gives us the previously untold story of how one sensational trial propelled a self-taught lawyer and a future president into the national spotlight.
— Randall M. Miller - Library Journal (Starred Review)
A masterful popular history that places its focal point in a richly detailed wider context and will get readers interested in Lincoln’s legal career.
— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
The definitive account. . . . Deftly explains the judicial and political implications of this effort by Lincoln to establish the inevitability (and desirability) of economic development in the West, and does so through superior research, fine reasoning, and lucid prose. . . . Absolutely essential.
— Harold Holzer, Roger Hertog Fellow, New-York Historical Society
Highly readable. . . . Places the story within the larger context of American economic, social, and military history.
— Michael Burlingame, author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life
A lively account of this navigational dispute and its central role in America’s economic and political development.
— Margaret A. Little - Wall Street Journal
Sometimes, while the future seems to lie in the establishment of invisible connections, it can be rewarding to look to the past, when it was infrastructure that held the promise of unity. McGinty enlivens this history of pre-Civil War America.
— Elizabeth Taylor - Chicago Tribune
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