Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory (The Nathan I. Huggins Lectures) Hardcover – February 27, 2012
|New from||Used from|
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
With a refreshing blend of analytical rigor and common sense, Harold Holzer places the Emancipation Proclamation in the context of its own time and circumstances, showing how Lincoln prepared public opinion for this controversial act, grounded it in his legal powers as commander in chief, and promoted its growing acceptance with eloquent paeans to freedom as a goal of the Civil War. This is a welcome new study of the Proclamation. (James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom and Abraham Lincoln)
As the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation approaches, Harold Holzer has given us a splendid book that provides essential historical framing for the document, its reception, and the trajectory of Abraham Lincoln's reputation as the Great Emancipator. A most enjoyable and informative read. (Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Union War and The Confederate War)
A succinct, readable, and essential guide to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. (Henry Louis Gates Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University)
Holzer uncovers a complex, imperfect man who was guided by practical considerations as he struggled to both preserve and perfect the Union. A welcome, balanced, and necessary addition to Lincoln scholarship. (Edna Greene Medford, Howard University)
Holzer's tripartite narrative deals first with the historical context of the Proclamation, laying out Lincoln's exquisitely difficult political, legal, moral and martial calculations as he gradually widened his circle of confidants, labored to manipulate public opinion and slyly prepared the nation for his momentous decision. He spent months refining the announcement released after Antietam and steadfastly signed the promised executive order. The author then moves to a discussion of the Proclamation's rhetorical deficiencies (Richard Hofstadter said it contained "all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading"), explains why our most eloquent president wrote so uncharacteristically and points us to contemporaneous speeches and letters for the "poetic accompaniment" to what was, after all, preeminently a legal document. Finally, Holzer turns to the iconography surrounding Lincoln and emancipation, tracing images from the early kneeling-slave, peculiarly disconcerting to modern audiences, on through to treatments by contemporary artists such as Rauschenberg, Basquiat and Kara Walker. This visual evidence effectively underscores his larger point about our troublesome, still evolving understanding of the Proclamation's place in our history. A fine introduction to what promises in 2013 to become a nationwide discussion. (Kirkus Reviews 2012-01-01)
Tracing the history of the iconography of Lincoln and the Proclamation, Holzer deftly leads readers through American racial politics from the Civil War to the election of President Obama...Images of the Proclamation and political cartoons shed light on the text and its reception in 1863. (Publishers Weekly 2011-12-12)
In this readable and revealing book, renowned Lincoln scholar Holzer investigates the process whereby Lincoln drafted, vetted, and presented the Emancipation Proclamation and also the ways people have come to understand and use the proclamation for myriad purposes. Especially important is Holzer's demonstration that Lincoln wrapped the proclamation's revolutionary promise in "leaden" legal language to ensure its Constitutionality and its palatability to loyal slaveholders, Northerners, and others still uneasy with the prospect of ending slavery. Also instructive is Holzer's examination of the Lincoln image as the "Great Emancipator" and the kneeling slave motif in picture, sculpture, and imagination, which images have contrasted with the more contested ones of Lincoln in print. The result is a book that through close textual analysis and attention to historical context gives the Emancipation Proclamation its due and shows Lincoln as a deft politician and prose master who understood how to fit the language to the moment and thereby realize a promise for all time. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to learn about how freedom came to be. (Randall M. Miller Library Journal (starred review) 2012-01-09)
Emancipating Lincoln is a long-overdue contextual analysis of Lincoln's evolving emancipation program and its place in historical memory. Holzer, an authority on Lincoln..., pinpoints when, why and how the president moved toward freeing the slaves. (John David Smith Charlotte Observer 2012-02-06)
Holzer's book brilliantly and quite convincingly aims to restore Lincoln's place as a courageous American civil rights pioneer by considering the 16th president's actions, attitudes, and the Emancipation Proclamation itself within the political, military, and racial context of the time...In putting Lincoln's greatest achievement in historical context, Holzer has done the Emancipator, and historical scholarship in general, a valuable service. (Chuck Leddy Boston Globe 2012-03-05)
What emerges from Holzer's research is a portrait of Lincoln as a man of vision who was adept at manipulating the news media. He was also discreet, even with his friends (both political and personal)...Holzer describes Lincoln's care in selecting the proper words, the right timing and the right context to effect the enactment of the proclamation. The portrait that emerges is one of a leader able to build consensus during the development of an important policy and in the middle of a war. (Michael L. Ramsey Roanoke Times 2012-03-23)
About the Author
Harold Holzer is Director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
What I suggest we have, however, is an exceedingly slender 172 pages (small in every respect and wide margins to boot). An afternoon's interesting reading.
The writing is, as always with Holzer, lively and crisp and the research and analysis insightful. There's just not enough of it (for me at least), and no new earth is plowed.
The illustrations (part of the "iconography" Holzer ably brings to all he does) are interesting but not compelling enough to justify the purchase price.
Ironically, I searched in vain for the actual texts of the three versions of the Proclamation. Only two illustrations contain the text (have your magnifying glass at hand).
To be sure, the historians are on the money in the positive jacket blurbs. But here's the thing: we're accustomed to so much more from Mr. Holzer; the Proclamation, on its 150th Birthday and at any time, deserves more; and Amazon customers must choose how to spend $25.00.
At the risk of committing Holzer heresy, it's recommended one take a pass. Perhaps podcasts of the lectures are available (listen also to the recent NPR interview). Unless one is a serious Lincoln book collector, this fine read can await.
Personally, for a fuller treatment, I'd respectfully recommend Professor Guelzo's 2006 "Emancipation Proclamation," currently $10 in paperback and $12 in Kindle. For a recent example of magnificent Holzer work, please consider his 2009 "Lincoln President-Elect and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861" (similarly priced to Guelzo's work).
btw, too bad Mr. Holzer and Amazon didn't connect...this could have made a terrific Kindle Single... even at $3.99 it could have found an appropriately vast and eager audience!
One great example Holzer gives is Lincoln publicly admonishing black Abolitionists that free men of color should either voluntarily or forcibly be returned to Africa. On its face this would appear that Lincoln was a racist, wishing to rid the United States of freed slaves, but the reality was the press was present and he needed them to relay to the Union, and especially Border States, the idea that the war was not about liberating slaves but about preserving the Union. At this point the war was not going well and making the war more broadly about emancipation would have turned public opinion against him at a time where the tide of war was at best uncertain. It is those kinds of insights which makes "Emancipating Lincoln" such a fascinating read. Another great insight is the clarification of the oft-repeated mistake that the Proclamation freed all slaves; it did not. The Proclamation only freed slaves in Confederate territory, not in northern states, Border States, or in the territories or Indian lands. It wasn't until the passage of the 13th Amendment to U.S. Constitution that slavery was outlawed.
The portrait of Lincoln that emerges is that of a very astute politician, carefully thinking of how to marshal followers, sway public opinion, and shrewdly navigate potential minefields. The balancing act he faced during the Civil War on so many issues could have easily been mishandled by a lesser man. That Lincoln was our President at the time and rose to the occasion is nothing short of providence. So many people have taken what Lincoln said and did out of context and have used it to foster their own arguments and agendas without putting them into the correct historical context which has led to a profound misunderstanding of Lincoln. Holzer deftly puts all of Lincoln's actions back into context and frames the reasoning Lincoln used so that it all makes sense. While others have deconstructed Lincoln to advance their own arguments and build their own careers Holzer instead emancipates Lincoln, putting him in the context of the times, explaining the reasoning and rationale for why he did what he did. The result is profoundly refreshing and enlightening. One of the best reads in recent times!