Judah Benjamin: Counselor to the Confederacy By James Traub

A good short biography; it’s not as exhaustive as Eli Evans’ work but it gives a good picture of Benjamin in under 200 pages. 9780300229264 A concise biography of the man known as the brains of the Confederacy that, perhaps, doesn't delve deeply enough into the character of the man himself. We see Judah P. Benjamin most often through his actions and the responses of those around him as he used his brilliance to promote a cause which much of Europe, not just Abolitionists in the North, viewed as morally repugnant. Perhaps he was most swayed by his friendship with Jeff Davis, a deeply symbiotic bond where Davis depended on Benjamin while giving him honors and positions he might not otherwise have been able to achieve as a professed, if non-practicing, Jew.

An interesting and troubling biography, but in some ways an unsatisfying one.

9780300229264 A survivor

The author himself shows his own erudition by use of vocabulary in an interesting manner. This befits his subject, Judah Benjamin, himself a complex, brilliant and canny man who managed to, like Houdini, escape using his wits. He was plagued by antisemitism, yet a slavery advocate and the second most important official of the Confederacy. 9780300229264

A moral examination of Judah Benjamin—one of the first Jewish senators, confidante to Jefferson Davis, and champion of the cause of slavery
“This new biography complicates the legacy of Benjamin . . . who used his nimble legal mind to defend slavery and the Confederacy.”— New York Times Book Review
“A cogent argument for acknowledging, rather than ignoring, Benjamin’s role in both Jewish and American history.”—Diane Cole, Wall Street Journal
Judah P. Benjamin (1811–1884) was a brilliant and successful lawyer in New Orleans, and one of the first Jewish members of the U.S. Senate. He then served in the Confederacy as secretary of war and secretary of state, becoming the confidant and alter ego of Jefferson Davis. In this new biography, author James Traub grapples with the difficult truth that Benjamin, who was considered one of the greatest legal minds in the United States, was a slave owner who deployed his oratorical skills in defense of slavery.
How could a man as gifted as Benjamin, knowing that virtually all serious thinkers outside the American South regarded slavery as the most abhorrent of practices, not see that he was complicit with evil? This biography makes a serious moral argument both about Jews who assimilated to Southern society by embracing slave culture and about Benjamin himself, a man of great resourcefulness and resilience who would not, or could not, question the practice on which his own success, and that of the South, was founded. Judah Benjamin: Counselor to the Confederacy

free read ↠ eBook or Kindle ePUB ï James Traub