Photo by M. Stewart
SouthBound: Jonathan Putnam
Author of the Lincoln & Speed Mystery Series
"How the Young Lincoln Became Our Lincoln"
Saturday, March 2
Student Price: $5 (must present student ID card)
The Lincoln & Speed Mystery Series
The Lincoln & Speed Mystery Series is based on Jonathan’s extensive research surrounding the four years Abraham Lincoln and his close friend Joshua Speed lived together above Speed’s store. A well-born Southerner, Speed was a little known but pivotal person in contributing to the maturation of Lincoln’s career and life, thus helping develop the course of American History. The two men met by chance in 1837 after Lincoln moved from New Salem to Springfield, Illinois, to practice law and pay off substantial debts. Before that time, Lincoln had suffered through an unhappy childhood and a decade of itinerant life drifting among jobs and succeeding at none of them.
Final Resting Place's plot is based on an actual 1838 sensational murder trial in which a young Abraham Lincoln, countered by the forceful prosecution of Stephen Douglas, defended a prominent local politician accused of murdering a rival. Douglas became Lincoln’s principal political adversary for the next two decades, culminating in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.
About the Author
Jonathan F. Putnam is a writer and attorney. His books in the Lincoln & Speed Mystery Series include Final Resting Place, Perish from the Earth (2017) and These Honored Dead (2016). He is currently working on the fourth book in the Lincoln & Speed Mystery Series, which will be published by Crooked Lane Books in 2019.
Jonathan’s Lincoln & Speed historical mystery series has been a critical and
commercial success. Pulitzer Prize-winning Lincoln scholar Doris Kearns Goodwin called it, “Splendid … one of the most enjoyable works of fiction I have read in a long time.” Historical Novels Review called These Honored Dead “wonderful historical fiction” and Perish from the Earth “well-plotted, compelling and exceptional.” Publishers Weekly praised These Honored Dead ina starred review. Shelf Pleasures called Perish from the Earth, “One of the best books I have read in a long time. I can’t recommend it highly enough… I’m certain you will be captivated by its raw and honest look at this part of American history and by the beauty of the language used to portray the people, both real and imaginary.” Jonathan has been featured by such media outlets as Fox-TV. He was chosen to narrate an episode on the young Lincoln for the popular “10 American Presidents” podcast series.
Jonathan is also a nationally renowned trial lawyer. He was an equity partner at the New York City office of the leading international law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP, a firm he has been associated with since 1993. He specializes in representing companies and individuals in complex commercial litigation, often disputes involving intellectual property such as patents or trademarks. He has been the lead trial counsel in over a dozen trials, conducting around the country in front of juries, judges and professional arbitrators. His work as a lawyer has often been recognized by national legal publications, including The American Lawyer magazine, which named him one of the top 50 trial lawyers nationwide under the age of 45. He has also served in a number of leadership capacities at Kirkland & Ellis, including serving as the firm-wide hiring partner. Jonathan continues to work as an attorney at Kirkland.
Jonathan graduated from Harvard College in 1988 with honors with a degree in History and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1992. At Harvard Law School, he served on the Harvard Law Review and received the Fay Diploma for graduating first in his class. After graduation, he worked as a law clerk to a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. before joining Kirkland & Ellis.
Jonathan has been active in a number of charitable causes relating to children and access to higher education for less fortunate kids. He is also the much-criticized commissioner of his family's fantasy football league and a back-of-the-pack marathon runner, having completed marathons in New York, Chicago, London, Paris and Las Vegas. He and his wife, Christin Putnam, have three sons. They live in London and New York.