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Friday, February 08, 2008

Recent Lincoln Books

Every year produces a fresh crop of books about Abraham Lincoln. Since the latest batch is especially numerous and varied, I decided to provide a quick summary of some of the ones we've added to Worcester Public Library.

"Did Lincoln own slave?: and other frequently asked questions about Abraham Lincoln" by Gerald Prokopowicz is written in question and answer format and deals with both serious topics such as Lincoln's attitude on race and frivolous ones such as the worst picture of Lincoln. The author's breezy, often humorous style makes this an easy way to absorb a great deal of information.

"Lincoln the lawyer" by Brian Dirck deals with all of Lincolns legal career, much of which was commercial law, and how it affected his presidency. " The case of Abraham Lincoln : a story of adultery, murder, and the making of a great president" by J.M. Fenster covers just one sensational trial where Lincoln was the defense counsel. Ms Fenster contends that it was the publicity from this case that distinguished Lincoln from the rest of the group of talented, ambitious Illinios lawyers and paved the way to his future prominence.

"Land of Lincoln: adventures in Abe's America" by Andrew Ferguson examines the ways Lincoln's memory and image have been commemorated and sometimes exploited since his death. He visits a convention of the Association of Lincoln Presenters where he is the only man not dressed as Lincoln and Spinfield, Illinois' new Lincoln museum where the lively exhibits were designed by a former Disney employee to attract tourists.

"The Gettysburg Address: and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America" is a very oversized book with a minimum of text and evocative paintings by Sam Fink on each pages. "Lincoln: the presidential archives" by Chuck Wills is another book notable for its illustrations including document facsimiles .
On the more serious side "Lincoln revisited: new insights from the Lincoln Forum" has chapters by 18 prominent historians on various aspects of Lincoln"s life and leadership.
"House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, a family divided by war" by Stephen William Berry describes the aggravation Lincoln suffered from misguided, unbalanced and sometimes downright malicious relatives and relations.
Both "Douglass and Lincoln..." by Paul Kendrick and "The radical and Republican..." by James Oakes deal with the profound influence Lincoln and Frederick Douglass had on each other.
"Stealing Lincoln's body" by Thomas J. Craughwell is the bizarre but true story of an 1876 plot to hold Lincoln's body for ransom.

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