Americans interested in history need to make the pilgrimage to Gettysburg, writes Gabor Boritt in the Acknowledgments. In this book seven historians make that journey, five of them Pulitzer laureates, looking for Lincoln. Kenneth Stampp explores the issue of national self-determination, comparing the Souths struggle for independence to others in history (including the post-Soviets in eastern Europe). Arthur Schlessinger, Jr. offers a provocative comparison of how Lincoln and our other outstanding war president, FDR, went beyond the limits of the Constitution--and why. David Brion Davis focuses on the moment of emancipation. Boritt traces Lincolns transition from a strident war opponent as a young man to resolute war leader as president. Carl Degler compares the American attempt at national unification with the unifications of Italy, Germany, and other nations. Robert Bruce contrasts premonitions of civil war with Lincolns reluctance to accept war as a possibility. And James McPherson establishes once and for all the war presidents brilliance as a national strategist. These outstanding essays--all but one published here for the first time--offer a new understanding of a revolutionary epoch in American history, and of the role of the leader who helped transform the nation forever.
- Publication Date:
- 07 / 04 / 1994