Elizabeth D. Leonard tells the dramatic story of the assassination, the roundup of suspects, and the ensuing trials of those involved in the crimes of April 14. Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt - a Kentuckian divided against those within his own family over the war - was put in charge of the investigation and the initial trial of the conspirators, which took the form of a military commission despite the fact that the war was at an end. Holt first set out to punish all of Booth's local accomplices, and then went after others, including the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, whom he felt had instigated the assassination. Paradoxically, the sternest opposition Holt faced in pursuing his goal of revenge came from Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson, whose own life was spared by one conspirator's loss of nerve. In Leonard's book it becomes clear that the battle between Holt and Johnson encompassed the conflicts of the nation as a whole over the shape postwar Reconstruction would take. These conflicts ultimately led to Johnson's impeachment, as well as the destruction of any hope that the newly freed slaves would achieve equality in the aftermath of emancipation. Indeed, the division within the federal government over the question of how to respond to Lincoln's assassination threatened to undermine post-Civil War efforts to reunite the nation altogether, and they left a legacy of disregard for Black Americans' civil rights that we continue to deal with today.