The Lincoln Reader

The Lincoln Reader

The Lincoln Reader

The Lincoln Reader

Excerpt

The Lincoln Reader is a biography written by sixty-five authors. From their writings one hundred seventy-nine selections have been chosen and arranged to form an integrated narrative. Great names in Lincoln biography -- Carl Sandburg, Ida M. Tarbell, Lord Charnwood, Albert J. Beveridge, William H. Herndon, John G. Nicolay, and John Hay--stand out prominently; others, like James G. Randall and Benjamin P. Thomas, are better known to scholars than to the general public. Quite a few whose writings appear here have been forgotten by almost everyone, and at least two who wrote contemporary news stories which I have included have never emerged from anonymity. And I suppose there are not many readers who would include Lincoln himself in a list of Lincoln biographers, yet some of his writings have notable biographical significance.

I wish I could formulate the standard of selection by which I have been guided. It would be gratifying, though presumptuous, to be able to assert that here is the "best" of Carl Sandburg, or Lord Charnwood, or Nicolay and Hay, but I make no such claim. I have simply taken from each author what seemed to fit best at a given point in the book--a fine piece of narrative here, a vivid reminiscence there, a penetrating character study or a contemporary diary entry at other places. Beyond that, all I can say is that I have taken pains to see that no author is unworthily represented.

In making any book one acquires many obligations; in this my debts are unusually numerous. I am well aware of the fact that in The Lincoln Reader I have been no more than a kind of literary midwife to those who have really labored, and to them, and, in many instances, their publishers also, I am forever indebted. From my own publishers, the Rutgers University Press, I have received far more aid than even an unreasonable author could possibly ex-

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