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When attorney John Jay Cornelison severely beat Kentucky Superior Court
judge Richard Reid in public on April 16, 1884, for allegedly injuring his
honor, the event became front-page news. Would Reid react as a Christian
gentleman, a man of the law, and let the legal system take its course, or would
he follow the manly dictates of the code of honor and challenge his assailant?
James C. Klotter crafts a detective story, using historical, medical, legal, and
psychological clues to piece together answers to the tragedy that followed.
“This book is a gem. . . . Klotter’s astute organization and gripping narrative
add to the book’s appeal. . . . [He] has written a fascinating book that will be
of interest to a wide audience.”
—American Historical Review
“A moving story well told, it does force the reader to reflect on our own era and
consider whether we value leaders who respect the rule of law or those who
believe that honor demands swift and bloody vengeance no matter the costs.”
—Ohio Valley History
“A rich and compelling work that offers fresh insights into the tense interplay
among religion, law, and honor in the American South.”
—Register of the Kentucky Historical Society