Collects Abraham Lincoln's most inspiring works written during his public life, from his inaugural address to the Emancipation Proclamation, and includes a biography and chronology of Lincoln's life. Collects Abraham Lincoln"s most inspiring works written during his public life, from his inaugural address to the Emancipation Proclamation, and includes a biography and chronology of Lincoln"s life. ...more


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A friend reminded me of this review by Liking it this evening (well, that was a year or more ago). In reviewing it, I realized that 2016 could possibly be called the "sesqucenteniannual" (one hundred fifty-first) anniversary of Lincoln's death in 1865. But more than that, the great book reviewed here is not only available from many dealers, but a Kindle edition can be had for three bucks! Since there are nothing but words in the volume anyway, a digital edition loses nothing in comparison to a p A friend reminded me of this review by Liking it this evening (well, that was a year or more ago). In reviewing it, I realized that 2016 could possibly be called the "sesqucenteniannual" (one hundred fifty-first) anniversary of Lincoln"s death in 1865. But more than that, the great book reviewed here is not only available from many dealers, but a Kindle edition can be had for three bucks! Since there are nothing but words in the volume anyway, a digital edition loses nothing in comparison to a paper one.In this review I use spoilers to divide it into parts. In the case of the present book, there is nothing in any of these sections which would "spoil" anyone"s reading of the book. If the description of the section interests you, take a look.Lincoln is either the obvious subject, or plays a main part, in hundreds of books. Just to name a few of fairly recent vintage, there is the full scale biography by David Herbert Donald Lincoln, the very popular work by Doris Kearns Goodwin Team of Rivals, which is both more general (it"s billed as a "multiple biography" of not only Lincoln, but of others in his administration, and in the Army which he command) and more specialized (in that it is a study of Lincoln"s "political genius") than Donald"s book; and the following Lincoln books, mentioned among others, in a recent NPR report: The Fiery Trial, Battle Cry of Freedom, and Land of Lincoln (See the following brianowens.tv reviews:Team of Rivals http://www.brianowens.tv/review/show/... Battle Cry of Freedom http://www.brianowens.tv/review/show/... )The appeal of the book under review here is that it combines a very readable and interesting biography with a large selection of Lincoln"s own writings. Thus it is of interest to readers who are not looking for a very detailed, in-depth or specialized study of Lincoln, but a fairly brief overview of his life, and in addition a wide selection of his writings, the latter a feature of this book missing from the other books mentioned.When the book was published in 1940, it was the largest single-volume collection of Lincoln"s writings ever published. The "writings" include addresses, proclamations, many different categories of letters, and generous selections from the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates.IntroductionThe following section is a short overview of a (short itself) Introduction to the book by Allan Nevins, entitled "Lincoln in His Writings".(view spoiler)Biographical essayThis review section explores briefly the Lincoln biography included in the book, written by Philip Van Doren Stern, a Civil War historian who incidentally, in 1945, privately published his short story "The Greatest Gift" - the inspiration for the classic Christmas movie It"s a Wonderful Life.(view spoiler)The Writings of Abraham LincolnThis is the main section of the book.(view spoiler)… the total number of Lincoln"s words preserved for posterity is more than one million … This volume, of course, does not pretend to completeness … The principle of selection used has been to include all those items which are of biographical interest or of historical importance. … it has been necessary to print excerpts from some of the longer pieces … For the general reader these excisions should not be serious, for the material omitted has been left out because it is relatively unimportant, dull, repetitious, of ephemeral interest or because it pertains only to Lincoln"s legal or business life.The writings presented are about 275 in number, stretching to over 600 pages. The first item is "Address to the People of Sangamon County, Illinois, March 9, 1832"; the last, "Lincoln"s Last Writing, April 14, 1865". Every item is introduced with remarks which provide historical and political context. These range from a sentence or two (most longer) to over a page. The selections themselves range from brief one paragraph letters to major excerpts from addresses.I think it fair here to present a somewhat arbitrary selection of the items included, from among those that are more than one or two pages long. Hopefully these will help any Goodreader perusing this section to decide whether the book would be of interest.(In each case the number in parentheses is the length in pages of the entry, including the introductory material.)- Address Before the Young Men"s Lyceum of Springfield, January 27, 1838 (11)- From an Address to the Springfield Washingtonian Temperance Society, February 22, 1842 (4)- "The Bear Hunt" (1846) (4) (a poem by Lincoln)- Speech at Peoria, Illinois, in Reply to Senator Douglas, October 16, 1854 (48 – the longest entry)- From a speech in Springfield, Illinois, June 26 1857 (15)- Notes for Speeches, about October 1, 1858 (7)- From Lincoln"s Reply in the Seventh and Last Joint Debate at Alton, Illinois, October 15, 1858 (25) (excerpts from all seven of the Lincoln-Douglas debates are included)- First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861 (12)- From the Message to Congress in Special Session, July 4, 1861 (13)- From the Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861 (8)- Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862 (4)- From the Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862 (11)- Opinion of the Draft, August <15?>, 1863 (6)- Address at the Dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery, November 19, 1863 (3) (The introductory section is two pages long. The Gettysburg Address itself is one page.)- Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, December 8, 1863 (5)- From the Annual Message to Congress, December 8, 1863 (8)- Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865 (4)- Last Public Address, April 11, 1865 (6) (hide spoiler)>MiscellanyIn the last section I"ve included various comments on additional material in the book, and on the edition of the book which I"m reviewing.(view spoiler)*