Essays crafted from C-SPAN interviews of 55 writers on Lincoln.As
the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth approaches, this
collection serves as a useful introduction to the startling depth
of the Lincoln discussion among scholars during the past decade and
a half. Many of the contributors - e.g., Allen C. Guelzo, David
Herbert Donald, Stephen B. Oates, Harold Holzer, James M.
McPherson, Mark Neely Jr. - are either Lincoln or Civil War - era
specialists. Others are notable historians who have written
important Lincoln-centered books - e.g., Doris Kearns Goodwin's
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Jay
Winik's April 1865: The Month That Saved America, Garry Wills's
Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America. These
scholars offer illuminating insights, all more gracefully explained
and profitably explored in the books that prompted the
conversations captured here, as Lamb (Booknotes: Life Stories:
Notable Biographers on the People Who Shaped Our World, 1999, etc.)
and C-SPAN president Swain readily acknowledge. The collection's
chief delight, particularly for readers already well-versed in
Lincolniana, lies in the odd-angle assessments contributed by
historians better known for their work apart from Lincoln, such as
Merrill D. Peterson, Gordon S. Wood, Robert Remini, Richard Norton
Smith, David Reynolds and H.W. Brands, or in the nuggets offered by
observers from different disciplines such as art, economics,
criticism and journalism. The essays are roughly divided into
groups centering on Lincoln's path to the White House, his
character, his performance as a wartime president and his iconic
historical status. The editors' big-tent presentation makes room
for dissenting voices from "the church of Lincoln" - the sometimes
self-serving scholarly "industry" that's grown up around the 16th
president - and they allow Lincoln to speak for himself, reprinting
seven of his speeches and an excerpt from the Charleston debate
with Stephen Douglas. Mini-biographies of the contributors serve
both as a tribute to the variety and distinction of the assembled
voices and as a helpful guide for those eager to learn more.An
appealing tasting menu for the banquet that is Lincoln. (Kirkus
In a handsome, gift-quality volume celebrating the 200th
anniversary of Lincoln's birth, America's top Lincoln historians
offer their diverse perspectives on the life and legacy of
America's sixteenth president. Spanning Lincoln's life--from his
early career as a Springfield lawyer, to his presidential reign
during one of America's most troubled historical periods, to his
assassination in 1865--these essays, developed from original C-SPAN
interviews, provide a compelling, composite portrait of Lincoln,
one that offers up new stories and fresh insights on a defining
Edited by C-SPAN's Brian Lamb and Susan Swain, illustrated with
Lamb's photographs of Lincoln landmarks, and promoted throughout
the year on C-SPAN, "Abraham Lincoln" is a wonderful compendium of
information and deeply-informed analysis that deserves a prominent
place on every bookshelf.
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