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Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on Our Sixteenth President Hardcover – October 27, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Edition edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586486764
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586486761
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,118,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

There are about 16,000 books on Abraham Lincoln, and authors of about 50 of them (augmented by several non-Lincoln historians with opinions about the sixteenth U.S. president) appear in this edited compilation of C-SPAN interviews. Culled from the network’s various book programs, they omit the questions put by host-editor Brian Lamb and his colleagues, but the relaxed directness that is his signature is detectable in the historians’ replies. Answers by anecdote abound, indicating Lamb perhaps asked “Who was Ann Rutledge?” or “Was Lincoln a racist?” in addition to covering every other curiosity the reading public has about Lincoln. That curiosity shows no signs of subsiding and every one of surging for the February 2009 bicentennial. This volume’s review of the past 15 years of Lincoln authorial effort demonstrates how interpretively vibrant the subject remains, still capable of producing original research such as Matthew Pinsker’s Lincoln’s Sanctuary (2003), despite or perhaps due to Lincoln’s “biographical inaccessibility,” as Mark Neely comments. With content from history heavyweights David Herbert Donald, James McPherson, and Doris Kearns Goodwin, this will be in high demand for the bicentennial. --Gilbert Taylor


"Kirkus," October 1, 2008"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."

Customer Reviews

A great book for any American History enthusiast or scholar and those interested about Abraham Lincoln.
Joe Owen
Dependence upon more or less incomprehensible technology has become a fact of modern life, and it may be as much a good thing as a bad.
This book, "Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on Our Sixteenth President" is an important part of the record this year.
James Hiller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By C. M Mills on November 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Always count on C-Span for quality programming and publication of public affairs books! As the Lincoln birth bicentennial occurs in 2999 the network has published "Abraham Lincoln. Swain and Lamb took interviews they and others have conducted on C-Span and present them in the 68 essays in the book. The book is divided into four sections:
I. Log Cabin to White House. This section deals with the life of Lincoln from his Kentucky slave-state birth in 1809 to his election as president in November 1860.
Historian Mark Neely Jr. writes of Lincoln's early years; Harold Hozer focuses on the Lincoln-Douglas debates while other essays explore the friends Lincoln made as he chartered his course to the top of the political heap in Illinois and the nation.
II.Wartime President. This is the longest section of the book dealing with such varied topics as Lincoln's Soldier's Home retreat; Lincoln and Grant; the end of the war; the assassination and how he conducted his presidency during wartime. Scuh stalwart Lincoln scholars as David Herbert Donald, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jay Winik, Edward Steers Jr, Wayne Fields, Michael Barone and others are heard from.
III. Character:: We see how Lincoln viewed religion; how he was influenced by the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution and look at the complexity of his character. People like Frank J. Williams, Matthew Pinsker, Edna Green Medord, Shelby Foote and Allen C. Guezlo are the distinguished contributors in this area of Lincoln study.
IV. Memory: Essays include "Whitman's Lincoln" by David Reynolds' and insights into the Lincoln cult and Lincoln collecting. Essays included are by such collectors of as Frank Williams and Louise Taper. Thomas Dilorenzo has harsh words to say about the Lincoln cult and Lincoln.
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Format: Hardcover
On February 12, 2009, our nation marks the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth. The present volume contains 68 essays by 55 writers who are among those best versed in the history of Lincoln and the Civil War.

Parts 1-4 discuss "Log Cabin to White House," "Wartime President," "Character," and "In Memory." Part 5 includes eight of Lincoln's speeches.

Writers include James M. McPherson, Harold Holzer, Stephen B. Oates, Shelby Foote, and Doris Kearns Goodwin, and critics such as Lerone Bennett, Jr. and Thomas DiLorenzo, who examine the many sides of Lincoln concerning presidential power, leadership, racial reconciliation, and American values.

These essays, both pro and con, help one gain a balanced view of a complex Lincoln, an alleged "racist" and "white supremacist" who grew and evolved into a statesman described by Mario Cuomo as a "progressive pragmatist."

Note: Complete transcripts of interviews with authors--along with video and other features--are available at [...].

About the Editors:

Brian Lamb is C-SPAN's chairman and CEO and longtime on-camera interviewer, noted for his "just the facts" style of interviewing. Many of the essays in this book are drawn from Booknotes, Lamb's long-running author-interview program, while others were conducted for C-SPAN's special history series on Lincoln and on the American presidency. Lamb lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Susan Swain is President & co-Chief Operating Officer of C-SPAN. For more than twenty-five years, she has been an on-air interviewer for the program. A regular moderator of Washington Journal, she's interviewed hundreds of members of Congress, policy experts, journalists, and several presidents. She lives in Northern Virginia.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Christian Schlect VINE VOICE on November 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful purchase for anyone with even a faint interest in Abraham Lincoln and his impact on America.

In this book, many notable scholars lend their thoughts and insights in a conversational style to various aspects of the Lincoln story. A reader will be delayed neither by scholarly jargon nor intrusive footnotes. Instead, that person is presented with the easy opportunity to be exposed to a wide breadth of the scholarship directly touching upon Mr. Lincoln. And afterwards, if interest is excited, he or she can go find and read one or more of the books written by these able past contributors to C-SPAN.

C-SPAN is a national treasure and this timely history book is a monument to that cable-industry company's talented staff and its work over the years in bringing Abraham Lincoln's life and times so vividly before a new generation of Americans.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Grattan VINE VOICE on February 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a compilation of excerpts from interviews of both well-known and obscure authors and other Lincoln-connected individuals, who have appeared on C-Span over the last fifteen years, primarily on the "Booknotes" program conducted by Brain Lamb. The seventy-four inclusions range widely, covering subjects from Lincoln's childhood, young adulthood in New Salem, Ill, his romances and marital life, his early political career and activities as a lawyer, his campaign for the Senate and debates with Douglas, his views on race and religion, his dealings with his Cabinet and generals, his life in Washington, Gettysburg and his reverence for the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, his image making especially through photography, his assassination, and more.

Some of the entries are so short and authored by such obscure individuals that they could have easily been left out. The reader will find represented noted Lincoln scholars such as David Donald, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Allen Guelzo, James McPherson, Stephen Oates, Harold Holzer, and Douglas Wilson. In two of the longer entries, Lerone Bennett, Jr., and Thomas Dilorenzo take issue with the deification of Lincoln, the notion that he ended slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation, his suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and his pro-Hamilton economics.

The book conveniently includes a time-line of Lincoln's life and maps showing where he lived, the cities where he debated Douglas, and the railroad routes of his inaugural journey from Springfield to Washington in 1861 and the funeral train back to his home in April, 1865. Also, his more noted speeches are included.
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