A Great Time For Lincoln Enthusiasts

It is indeed a great time for Lincoln enthusiasts.  In my mind there is no one more interesting to read about than Lincoln.  His rise to political office and the challenges involved in leading the United States through a civil war are enough to keep one occupied for a lifetime.   I am currently reading William Gienapp’s short biography of Lincoln for a class that I am preparing to teach next year on Lincoln.  There are a number of Lincoln studies and Lincoln-related studies that are set to be released in the near future.  In the latter camp, I just picked up Jennifer L. Weber’s, Copperheads: The Rise and Fall of Lincoln’s Opponents in the North.  You have to go back to Joel H. Silbey’s, A Respectable Minority: The Democratic Party in the Civil War Era, 1860-1868 for the last book-length study of the Democratic Party. 

Future releases include Gabor Boritt’s The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows; I assume the title is taken from Richard N. Current’s The Lincoln Nobody Knows.  Douglas Wilson’s Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words promises to be a fascinating read based on the quality of previous titles on Lincoln.  I still believe that Wilson’s Honor’s Voice is one of the best books ever written about Lincoln.  Early next year William Freehling’s The Road To Disunion II: Secessionists Triumphant will shed much light on Lincoln’s role throughout the secession winter.  Finally, two books by fellow blogger Brian Dirck are set to be released in 2007.  They include Lincoln the Lawyer and Lincoln Emancipated: The President and the Politics of Race.

I hate to end on a sour note, but I see that Thomas DiLorenzo is set to release Lincoln Unmasked: What Your Not Supposed To Know About Dishonest Abe.  For some reason I read his first book and somehow I managed to get through it even though it was a complete disaster from beginning to end.  What is so disappointing and even a little sad is that this guy’s footnotes and bibliography include so little of what has emerged within Lincoln studies over the past few years.  My guess is that this new book will also ignore the secondary literature.  That’s ashame.  Lincoln has attracted some of our best and most talented historians and their work is indispensable to understanding both Lincoln and his role in the Civil War.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

Purchase your copy today!

3 comments… add one
  • Kevin Levin Sep 29, 2006 @ 7:48

    Cash and Mark, — The two of you are absolutely spot-on. DiLorenzo is not a historian and he is clearly not interested in understanding Lincoln within any historical context. If you look at his bibliography for the _The Real Lincoln_ it consists mainly of titles in political science and economics. The problem is that the average reader doesn’t know this and is more than likely attracted to his “sexy” title.

  • Mark Snell Sep 28, 2006 @ 23:10

    DiLorenzo should stick to his discipline (economics). His Ph.D, unfortunately, gives him credibility with the uninformed. He does, however, give me grist for the final lesson in my Civil War course. That lesson, Kevin, as you well know, deals with the Civil War and collective memory. His book gets the same rating as _The South was Right!_


  • Cash Sep 28, 2006 @ 16:44


    DiLorenzo’s target audience isn’t concerned with accurate scholarship. They have a political agenda and DiLorenzo’s books are written to further that agenda.


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