Today my review copy of Elizabeth Brown Pryor’s book, Six Encounters With Lincoln: A President Confronts Democracy and its Demons, arrived. The book will be officially released next week. I’ve been anticipating the release of this book for some time, but its publication is accompanied by a good deal of sadness. As many of you know, the author was tragically killed in a car accident close to two years ago.
I knew Elizabeth fairly well. I was first introduced to her while conducting research at the Virginia Historical Society for my Crater book. By that point I had already read her book on Robert E. Lee, which I still consider to be the single best study of the man. We always managed to find time to talk whenever our paths crossed at the VHS. On occasion, we grabbed lunch together, which gave me the opportunity to pick her brain about how she approached research and writing.
Elizabeth took time to visit with my Civil War class in Charlottesville to talk about Lee and his connection to slavery, which is one of the most intriguing parts of her book. She was a natural with students. On another occasion Elizabeth accompanied me and my students on a tour of Richmond’s Civil War monuments.
I was aware that a book about Lincoln was in the works before her death. Fortunately, Elizabeth completed the manuscript before the accident. I have absolutely no doubt that Elizabeth has left us with what promises to be an important and engaging book about Lincoln. I only wish that she was still with us to celebrate its release.