Walter Stahr, here most recently with his esteemed biography of William Seward, Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, returns to Elliott Bay to speak about Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton. His book, Stanton: Lincoln’s War Secretary (Simon and Schuster), tells the story of the man who organized the Civil War effort and then, after Booth’s attack on Lincoln and Booth, rushed to Lincoln’s deathbed and briefly took over the government. Stanton’s disagreement with President Andrew Johnson’s Southern policy lead to Johnson’s impeachment and near removal.
“Walter Stahr has delivered another solid, well-researched biography of a major, if often overlooked, figure in American history. His portrait of Edwin Stanton is fair-minded, rigorous, and scrupulously honest, balancing his sometimes questionable record on civil liberties with the logistical wizardry that he applied to win the Union war effort. Stanton is thus a welcome and significant addition to the ample literature on the Civil War and Reconstruction.” – Ron Chernow.