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Lincoln in American Memory Paperback – June 1, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0195096453 ISBN-10: 0195096452 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (June 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195096452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195096453
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,343,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With insightful detail, University of Virginia historian Peterson ( The Jefferson Image in the American Mind ) richly catalogues the resounding image, for scholars and civil society alike, of the martyred president. From the assassination onward, Peterson writes, five intertwined themes dominated interpretation of Lincoln: Savior of the Union, Great Emancipator, Man of the People, the First American and the Self-made Man. Moving in chronological cycles, the author elucidates these themes. In the late 19th century lecturers, including the poet Walt Whitman, rather than books, were America's major source of information on Lincoln, while black leaders like Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois invoked different Lincoln virtues to express their politics. After WW I, the construction of the Lincoln Memorial and American internationalism spurred a Lincoln revival, and clergy of all denominations claimed this not-so-devout Christian as an inspiration. Lincoln was quoted during arguments about prohibition, by Dale Carnegie and by Cold Warriors. Peterson's thorough research offers wonderful anecdotes, from accounts of the failed movements to build Lincoln monuments to how playwright Robert E. Sherwood, who wrote the 1938 Broadway hit Abe Lincoln in Illinois , found his life altered and became a White House speechwriter. Illustrations not seen by PW .
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Historian Peterson ( The Great Triumvirate , LJ 8/87) provides a chronological history of Abraham Lincoln's place in the American imagination. Lincoln's achievements and the drama of his death make him a continuing subject of study for each generation. Concisely summarizing the field of Lincoln literature, from the time of his death to the present, Peterson offers his own analysis and explains why and how each generation tries to make Lincoln its own. Peterson details the five images of Lincoln: the savior of the Union, the great emancipator, man of the people, first American, and self-made man. Literature, art, and music are all covered in this review of Lincoln through the ages. Lincoln is a national treasure, and this book is worthy of him. Recommended for most libraries.
- Patricia Owens, Wabash Valley Coll., Mt. Carmel, Ill.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Scott E. Rosenau on May 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Merrill D. Peterson, a renowned Jefferson scholar, enters the field of Lincoln studies with this book on how Lincoln has been remembered, memorialized and celebrated in the years since his death. Peterson examines an interesting variety of sources, including statues and prints made of Lincoln over the years in addition to the numerous biographies written. Among the images examined are the Emancipator, the martyr, and Savior of the Union. Peterson examines the origins of these images and how they have carried through the generations by historians and others.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Schmerguls VINE VOICE on March 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
This fascinating volume considers how Lincoln has been viewed from the time of his death to the time this work came out. The account of the historical research related to Lincoln's genealogy and his early life is particularly intriguing. It discusses some of the Lincoln literature and indicates what is worth reading. For instance, he downgrades Otto Eisenschiml's sensational Why Was Lincoln Murdered?, which made such a splash when it came out in 1937, and recommends The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies, by William Hanchett as the best book on the assassination and its historiography. This was the best book I read in the year when I read it, a year in which I read 126 books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glenn D. Robinson on June 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
Very interesting book, not so much a bio of Lincoln, but a history of the myth and image of Lincoln. Starting from the bio's directly after his death to current times. Over 16,000 books and articles have been written about Lincoln. Every aspect of his life has been combed over and still, the business of Lincoln is booming. There were different periods of the Lincoln studies. The first due to the sadness of his death and what it meant. The Blacks worshipped him for freeing them from slavery. The Southerners hated him. In the 1890's there was a shift to the man, the war effort and who was this Ann Rutledge? In the 1920's there was a movement to show he was the bastard son--but who was the father? John C. Calhoun was rumored as was the son of John Marshall. After the 20's to the 60's there was a movement to psycho analyze him. Starting with Malcolm X, there was a major shift among the Blacks to either hate Lincoln or discredit him (why did he wait until January 1, 1863 to emancipate?). Then in the 70's, the novelists got involved. From Gore Vidal to Lincoln the Vampire Slayer. 16,000 books compared to 4 for Millard Fillmore.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Robert Ewbank on June 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
This was a good book about the way we Americans remember Lincoln, even though some of our thoughts are not reall factual. It was worth the read to get back tosome of the truths.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
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