Richard told me about this excellent book about Judah P. Benjamin, often called “the brains of the Confederacy”. Others blamed him for the South’s defeat. He was born in the West Indies in 1811, the son of devout Jewish parents.
He attended Yale at age 14 and after graduation, practiced law in New Orleans. He was elected to the U.S. Senate from Louisiana in 1852. When the South seceded in 1861, Jefferson Davis appointed him Attorney-General, making him the first Jew to hold a Cabinet-level post in an American government. He then served as Secretary of War and then Secretary of State for the Confederacy.
When John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln, Davis and Benjamin were suspected of having plotted the event. According to Richard, there is an incredible chapter on his relationship with Jefferson Davis and the theory about their plotting the assassination.
Benjamin married a Roman Catholic and that seemed odd to me, that a good Jewish boy would marry a Catholic girl. After the war he moved to England and became a British Barrister. A posthumous caricature of him appears in the epic poem John Brown’s Body.