Judah P. Benjamin served as Attorney General, Secretary of War and Secretary of State in the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865. Historians have called him the “brains of the Confederacy”. He was obviously Jefferson Davis’s loyal confident, and Varina Davis testified in a letter that he spent ten to twelve hours a day in the office with her husband. Yet Davis hardly mentions him in his memoirs.
One of the many fascinating things about this book was the comparison of the personal lives of these two men. The author, Eli Evans says that both men were in love with “ghosts” – Davis with the memory of his first wife who died after three months of marriage, and Benjamin, with his “smoldering Creole temptress” he first encountered over English lessons in New Orleans.
Davis found another who cared for him deeply, while Benjamin endured an unhappy marriage, held together only by his wealth and his willingness to live apart from his wife and daughter.
This is a very interesting book which I wholeheartedly recommend. It gives a great deal of insight into the personalities of Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin and Varina Davis.