Six of the Top Recent Books on Abraham Lincoln
Emerson, Jason, American Heritage
Abraham Lincoln is the most written-about person in American history, and the third most in world history--ranking below only Jesus and Napoleon. The deluge of books about the Great Emancipator has only increased with the bicentennial of his birth this year. Lists of the "essential" Lincoln books have been published, and one renowned Lincoln scholar has even suggested that a book be written on the worst, so readers will know which to avoid. In 2008 and into the first months of 2009, many notable books on our 16th president have appeared, but some exceptional ones stand above the rest.
Lincoln's presidential years have drawn more scholarly attention than the period before he entered the White House; some scholars argue that, despite the glut of biographies, much remains to be uncovered and examined about his early life. In July 2008 Lewis E. Lehrman rescued one such segment of Lincoln's life from the shadows with his masterful Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point (Stackpole Books, 350 pages, $29.95), a study of Lincoln's speech at Peoria, Illinois, in October 1854, in response to Stephen A. Douglas's Kansas-Nebraska Act that year. It marked Lincoln's return to politics after a five-year hiatus and indeed the beginning of his advance to the presidency.
Lincoln later said of the Kansas-Nebraska Act that it "aroused him as he had never been before," and indeed his response, based on moral principles rather than political expediency, transformed him from a regional party politician to a national statesman, shifting the focus of his politics away from local issues to a stance against the national expansion of slavery. As Lehrman deftly explains, the …
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Publication information: Article title: Six of the Top Recent Books on Abraham Lincoln. Contributors: Emerson, Jason - Author. Magazine title: American Heritage. Volume: 59. Issue: 1 Publication date: Spring 2009. Page number: 70+. © 2001 American Heritage Publishing. COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale Group.
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