- Hardcover: 768 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Edition edition (October 14, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1439192715
- ISBN-13: 978-1439192719
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion Hardcover – October 14, 2014
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WINNER OF THE 2015 GILDER LEHRMAN LINCOLN PRIZE
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“Lincoln believed that ‘with public sentiment nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.’ Harold Holzer makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Lincoln’s leadership by showing us how deftly he managed his relations with the press of his day to move public opinion forward to preserve the Union and abolish slavery.” (Doris Kearns Goodwin)
“. . . a monumental, richly detailed portrait of the world of 19th-century journalism and Lincoln’s relation to it. . . . Full of fresh information and superb analysis, Holzer’s engaging, deeply researched book is destined to be recognized as a classic account of Civil War-era journalism and the president who both swayed it and came under its sway.” (The New York Times Book Review)
“Harold Holzer has written a fascinating study about Abraham Lincoln’s extraordinary legacy to American journalism. Eye-opening, scholarly, and provocative, Lincoln and the Power of the Press adds greatly to our understanding of the presidency and its relationship to the 4th Estate.” (Amanda Foreman)
“At no time in our history did newspapers wield more political influence than during the Civil War era, and no political figure was more aware of this influence than Abraham Lincoln. Harold Holzer’s compelling narrative of the intertwined world of politics and journalism demonstrates Lincoln’s canny skill in using the press to advance his own career as well as the cause of Union and freedom. A tour de force.” (James M. McPherson)
“A fascinating story that captures the brawling spirit of the American press in its bare-knuckled infancy and reveals a Lincoln that few of us have seen before.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Beautifully written and choked with insights.” (Boston Globe)
“Fascinating . . . The result is three books in one: a political biography of Lincoln written by a scholar who is among the most prolific chroniclers of the 16th president, a superb and engaging portrayal of the American press during a crucial moment in its history and that of the nation, and a riveting account of the intersection between a man redefining the presidency and a press establishing its modern role.” (Washington Post)
“Only by showing us what Lincoln was up against can Holzer measure the man’s achievement in using, controlling, or defying the one news medium of the time, the newspaper.” (New York Review of Books)
About the Author
Harold Holzer, a leading authority on Lincoln and the Civil War, is Chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and a Roger Hertog Fellow at the New York Historical Society. Widely honored for his work, Holzer earned a second-place Lincoln Prize for Lincoln at Cooper Union in 2005 and in 2008 was awarded the National Humanities Medal. Holzer is Senior Vice President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and lives in Rye, New York.
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Holzer's book goes into deep detail regarding the editors and reporters of the time in order to set the stage and explain the context of Lincoln's experiences. It also explains a lot about the way newspapers operated in the first American century and the way politics played out with the newspapers. In the second half of the book Holzer discusses how Lincoln's approach towards the newspapers changed in light of the realities of war. It discusses Lincoln's passive assent towards wartime censorship and his philosophy about the need for restrictions on the press. It is fascinating to read the thought-process of Lincoln as he sought to find the balance between the freedom of the press and the need for military security... it is clear that Lincoln did not take this matter lightly. Lincoln was adept at manipulating the media when it was necessary as well.
This doesn't make it a fast read but certainly a worthwhile one when it comes to understanding Lincoln and his skill in keeping the ideals of Union and Liberty alive.
The author does an excellent job of showing many facets of President Lincoln. Not only his victories but also his political stumbles are described and analyzed. What makes the book a cut above many works I've read about Lincoln is the complicated dynamics between him and the press especially the three big New York City newspapers. Mr. Holzer takes time to explain the publishers, James Bennett, Horace Greeley, and Henry Raymond, and as well as the growth of newspapers from purely propaganda machines for respective political parties into powerful egotistical behemoths that politicians ignored at their peril. It is funny to hear politicians of today whining about their treatment by the press when you compare it to what President Lincoln endured. Back then, the public wasn't exactly a model of gentlemanly forbearance when it came to newspapers printing news or opinions they found disagreeable. Man oh man, mobs destroying presses, ransacking newspaper buildings, and beating the ever-livin' crap out of publishers shows we present-day Americans have improved in some areas.
If you enjoyed Doris Kearn Goodwin's 'A Team of Rivals', then you will probably like 'Lincoln and the Power of the Press'. One thing's for sure, the book shows plenty of examples that FOX News is nowhere near the first propaganda "news" organization to come down the pike. Mr. Holzer's work is a lively retelling of the evolution of newspapers and how they impacted our nation for good and bad. It's a superb book.