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Lincoln Lessons: Reflections on America's Greatest Leader Hardcover – January 2, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 3 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Coeditors Williams (chief justice, Supreme Court of Rhode Island; Judging Lincoln) and Pederson (director, International Lincoln Ctr., Louisiana St. Univ., Shreveport; Grassroots Constitutionalism) hit upon an intriguing idea by asking various prominent Lincoln scholars (e.g., Doris Kearns Goodwin, James M. McPherson) and other notables who have studied him closely (e.g., Sandra Day O'Connor, Mario M. Cuomo) to relate how they first "met" Lincoln and how they've approached him. The result is a book that combines, in varying degrees, autobiography and argument. If a thematic thread runs throughout, it is that Lincoln demanded explanation, for he stood at the center of so many essential questions about America―the purpose and prospects of freedom, the nature of democracy, the qualities of great leadership, the limits of government, and America's place in the world. Some of the arguments here are distillations of ideas presented in fuller form elsewhere, and none of them will surprise any close student of Lincoln. Still, together, they remind us why Lincoln has such a powerful grip on the American imagination.
-- Randall M. Miller ― Library Journal Published On: 2009-04-15

Seventeen authors describe their experiences with the Lincoln subject. They are Jean H. Baker, Mario M. Cuomo, Joan Flinspach, Sara Vaugh Gabbard, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Harold Holzer, Harry V. Jaffa, John F. Marszalek, James M. McPherson, Edna Greene Medford, Sandra Day O'Connor, Mackubin Thomas Owens, William D. Pederson, Edward Steers, Jr., Craig L, Symonds, Thomas Reed Turner and Frank J. Williams.

Their tales make for entertaining reading. Some, of course, are more interesting than others. Overall, a reader will enjoy this volume. Doris Kearns Goodwin reveals her inner thoughts concerning Team of Rivals, her immensely successful book. Harold Holzer details his career with Lincoln images. Frank J. Williams traces his interest in Abraham Lincoln from his youth to his present leadership in the field. Edna Greene Medford gives a unique story of her experience as an African-American scholar writing on Lincoln. Craig L. Symonds admits that as a four-year-old kindergarten pupil he thought of Lincoln as "Sixteen Feet Tall."

     To savor this volume, one must read all the fine chapters. Such an endeavor will be well worth your while. However, a word of caution when you read reference number 12 in chapter one. Here are the facts: Mary Lincoln Beckwith died in 1975, and the family estate, Hildene, became the property of her brother, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith. He allowed James T. Hickey to examine the mansion where Hickey discovered Robert Todd Lincoln's file of personal papers in a room just off the study. Here, Hickey found the "MTL Insanity File" tied together with ribbon. It was, indeed, find of a lifetime for Lincoln scholars. In May of 1981, Mr. Beckwith determined to have R. Gerald McMurtry and Mark E. Neely, Jr. publish that collection of documents. He termed this team, "competent Lincoln scholars." Both were at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Mr, Beckwith determined to divide his inherited Lincolniana among several institutions before his death. Le items went to Lincoln Memorial University, some to Iowa Wesleyan, the Insanity File to the Lincoln Museum at Fort Wayne, He later died Christmas Eve in 1985. In 1986, Neely & McMurtry's volume, entitled The Insanity File: The Case of Mary Todd Lincoln, appeared from the press of Southern Illinois University. --Wayne C. Temple, Illinois State Archives

-- Wayne C. Temple ― The Lincoln Herald Published On: 2010-12-01

Product details

  • Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
  • Hardcover : 192 pages
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0809328918
  • ISBN-10 : 0809328917
  • Dimensions : 6.25 x 0.75 x 9.25 inches
  • Publisher : Southern Illinois University Press; 1st edition (January 2, 2009)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
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