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Lincoln the Inventor Paperback – January 15, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“You will come away from Lincoln the Inventor the wiser for understanding how the mind that devised a patent for floating grounded river boats could also be the same mind that turned out the perfectly-balanced phrases of the Gettysburg Address, labored to promote transportation as the keystone to economic mobility, and piloted emancipation through the shoals of war.”—Allen C. Guelzo, author of Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America


Lincoln the Inventor is an excellent book presenting new information about Abraham Lincoln, providing still another example of his intellectual genius. This well-organized and thoroughly researched work adds to Jason Emerson’s growing reputation as a young Lincoln scholar of note.”—Richard W. Etulain, author of Beyond the Missouri: The Story of the American West

About the Author

Jason Emerson, the author of The Madness of Mary Lincoln, is an independent historian and freelance writer whose articles have appeared in American Heritage, American History, and Civil War Times magazines, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Lincoln Herald, and Lincoln Forum Bulletin. He is writing a biography of Robert T. Lincoln, to be published by Southern Illinois University Press.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press; 1st Edition edition (January 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809328976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809328970
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,579,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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This excellent book looks at a side of Lincoln which is often overlooked... certainly Lincoln is considered to be to be a man of humor, a thinker and a moralist, but an inventor? Mr. Emerson looks at Lincoln's patent for a device to lift ships over shallow water to be yet another aspect of Lincoln's keen mind, which not only could distill ideas to their basic form but also solve problems in a practical way. Lincoln's personal dabbling in the mechanical arts did not stop at his own invention but continued on to his days as President, when he would speak to weapons manufacturers and other inventors, trying out their devices and identifying flaws in their design or, occasionally, recognizing them as new and unique. This volume might be slim but it explores this side of Lincoln's intellectual life which is rarely discussed today. If only there were an engineering school Lincoln could have gone to!
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Format: Paperback
Lincoln the inventor gives a rare look into the mind of one of out greatest presidents.

Not only was Abraham Lincoln the only US President that holds a patent from the US patient office he has a scientific mind that pervaded much how he handled his presidency the conduct of the war and his legacy too us all..

It's a relatively short book that any student of Lincoln or history would find captivating.
Emerson continues to give new insights into the Lincolns.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Be it known that I have invented a new and improved manner of combining adjustable buoyant air chambers with a steamboat or other vessel for the purpose of enabling their draught of water to be readily lessened to enable them to pass over bars, or through shallow water, without discharging their cargoes."

So begins the text of United States Patent #6,469 awarded to Abraham Lincoln for a method of "Buoying Vessels Over Shoals."

Lincoln's invention, his penchant for things scientific and mechanical, and his lecture "Discoveries and Inventions" is the subject of a terrific new book - Lincoln, the Inventor - by Jason Emerson, author of The Madness of Mary Lincoln.

I purchased the book yesterday, stayed up last night to read it, and was not disappointed. Here are some hi-lights for me:

1) The book is short (about 50 pages of text with another 25 pages of Appendices). Jason Emerson makes no apologies for the shortness. In fact, he is disappointed that "the publication of short books and monographs has lessened extensively in recent years," adding, " The page count of a work should have no impact on its overall historical, literary, or pedagogical value." (p. xiii) Indeed! Mr. Emerson packs a lot of information into this short book and it is supported by a great amount of scholarship.

2) In the first part of the book, Mr. Emerson describes Lincoln's general interest in science and invention and how that played out in his personal life (he devoured books on astronomy, geometry, and mechanics), his legislative agenda (he supported infrastructure projects), and as an inventor himself (somewhat to the chagrin of his peers). I was familiar with some of the information and anecdotes from my own reading and research on Lincoln, but Mr.
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