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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abraham Lincoln in New York, June 20, 2005
This review is from: Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President (Hardcover)
Of all of Lincoln's pre-Presidential speeches, the one he gave at New York City's Cooper Union in February 1860 stands out as the most historically significant: it made him president; it compelled the South to secede; and it saved the Union. And, yet, as Professor Holzer points out, this speech, while mentioned in history books, is rarely given the recognition it deserves. His comprehensive and readable "Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech that Made Abraham Lincoln President", rectifies this terrible oversight.

This is not a step-by-step examination of Lincoln's references in, and the rhetorical craftsmanship of, the speech, although those are explored thoroughly. The book also explores the heretofore unacknowledged campaigning savvy that Lincoln possessed. He knew he had to come to Gotham to convince the Eastern Republicans of his credibility. He knew the importance of the local newspaper printers, like Bryant and Greeley. He understood the importance of having a visual aid, like a Matthew Brady photograph. But, most important, as Professor Holzer takes great pains to reveal, Lincoln did not want to appear to be an abolitionist. That would border on radicalism which would be a guarantee of defeat.

As a bonus, "Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech that Made Abraham Lincoln President", presents us with a unique view of 1860 New York: the thieves at the docks; the "mass transit" of the age; the hunger for entertainment, of which political speeches were a significant part; the elegance and extravagance of the rich; and the desperation of the Five Points poor.

"Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President" is a wonderful book that will please anyone interested in American History, New York City, or oratory. And Professor Holzer deserves our thanks for making it so fascinating. It only reflects his own passion for the subject.

Rocco Dormarunno, author of THE FIVE POINTS
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