Most helpful positive review
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
A Masterpiece in Scholarship
on February 25, 2002
In the preface to his "Life of Lincoln", William Herndon expounded that when writing the history of Lincoln's early life "the whole truth concerning him should be known" and there should be "nothing colored or suppressed." Having set the standard Herndon failed to follow it, for there were something's even Herndon must have felt should not be put into print. Scholars wishing to explore Lincoln's early life beyond the insights offered by Herndon's biography had to turn to examining the letters and notes collected for over a twenty year period by himself and his collaborator Jesse Weik. This often proved to be a daunting task. As the editor's in their introduction noted even though available on Micro roll film specific documents are "very hard to locate" and even if located are "very hard to read." To further complicate matters the index to the Herndon collection prepared by the Library of Congress is "neither accurate nor complete." What Editors Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis have done in their "Herndon's Informants" is to transcribe all of the known Herndon, Weik letters and notes into a readable and properly indexed Documentary Edition. What they have also done is create a masterpiece of scholarship that will be used by students of Lincoln for decades to come. "Herndon's Informants" offers the student the complete Herndon collection, unabridged and un-editorialized. To anyone who has a strong interest in learning more about Lincoln's early life this is just about all that is available and it simply must become a part of your personal library.