Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review--Lincoln on War

Lincoln, Abraham. Lincoln on War: Our Greatest Commander-in-Chief Speaks to America. Harold Holzer, editor. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. 2011. 304 pages, index, b/w photos. ISBN 9781565123786, $24.95.

Lincoln on WarHarold Holzer has made a name for himself as an Abraham Lincoln scholar in addition to his "real" job working for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Holzer has helped write or edited more than a dozen works on Lincoln so it is only fitting that he has put together this excellent collection of Lincoln's words dealing with war.

Each chosen piece receives a brief introduction from Holzer providing the reader with background information. Organized chronologically Holzer uses Lincoln's words from over 160 letters, speeches, telegrams, orders, and more to illustrate the evolution of the man many call our greatest President. Holzer starts with a couple of brief statements from the 1830's before moving into Lincoln's prime years. While the large majority of these works are from the Civil War years Holzer provides many early examples allowing readers to trace the evolution of Lincoln's views. While there are many familiar works here such as the "A House Divided" speech upon accepting the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1858 and the 1863 Gettysburg Address the majority will be unfamiliar except to the most veteran of students. Therein lies the beauty of this work.

While this book is really aimed at those with an interest in Abraham Lincoln it should be read by anyone with an interest in the Civil War. The book is such that it can be picked up and put down without problem. Each of the entries is concise enough that readers with even short amounts of time can pick this book up. The subject matter and very reasonable price would make this an ideal book for college level work on the Civil War or Lincoln. Highly recommended.

Thank you to the kind folks at Algonquin Books for providing a review copy.

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