Black Jack Logan
An Extraordinary Life in Peace and War
by Gary Ecelbarger 
His legacy was Memorial Day. He was a dominant player in the politics of the Gilded Age, a three-term senator who was as popular as he was partisan. He was the vice-presidential candidate in the losing race in 1884. Had he not died unexpectedly at the age of sixty, he may likely have become president in 1888. He entered the political scene in 1859 with controversy, a Northern (Illinois) congressman so committed to enforcing the Fugitive Slave laws that abolitionists dubbed him "Dirty Work" Logan.

The Civil War made him a star. But more than that, it was the epiphany that changed his political and social values. He changed his philosophy, changed political parties, and fought for the rights of African Americans and for women's suffrage. He witnessed his first battle as a United States congressman, but became so impassioned with the fury of the fight that he picked up a discarded rifle and battled alongside the foot soldiers. Officially entering the war as a colonel, he served under such legends as Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumsah Sherman, and his ostentatious nature and solid leadership on the battlefield earned him rapid promotions and dominant roles in the decisive campaigns of the war. By 1865 he was a major general leading an army, and was considered the best volunteer soldier that the war produced.

He may be the most noteworthy nineteenth-century American to escape notice in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. His name is John Alexander Logan, known in his time as Black Jack Logan, and this, finally, is the book he deserves.

Black Jack Logan
An Extraordinary Life in Peace and War
by Gary Ecelbarger 
Lyons Press, 2005
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