Thursday, January 26, 2017

Booknotes: Six Encounters with Lincoln

New Arrival:
Six Encounters with Lincoln: A President Confronts Democracy and Its Demons by Elizabeth Brown Pryor (Viking Bks, 2017).

When Elizabeth Brown Pryor was tragically killed back in 2015, she left behind a completed book manuscript (this one) and a finished article about Lincoln's troubled relationship with his military commanders. In this book, Pryor "examines six intriguing, mostly unknown encounters that Abraham Lincoln had with his constituents. Taken together, they reveal his character and opinions in unexpected ways, illustrating his difficulties in managing a republic and creating a presidency."

More from the description: "Based on scrupulous research that draws on hundreds of eyewitness letters, diaries, and newspaper excerpts, Six Encounters with Lincoln offers a fresh portrait of Lincoln as the beleaguered politician who was not especially popular with the people he needed to govern with, and who had to deal with the many critics, naysayers, and dilemmas he faced without always knowing the right answer."

Just flipping through the book it isn't easy to tell what six "encounters" are under consideration, but this passage — "(a)n awkward first meeting with U.S. Army officers, on the eve of the Civil War. A conversation on the White House portico with a young cavalry sergeant who was a fiercely dedicated abolitionist. A tense exchange on a navy ship with a Confederate editor and businessman(.)" — hints at three of them. The fifty-page bibliography houses an impressive collection of research materials, including a fairly massive number of manuscript resources.


  1. Drew: I just ordered this by linking through this site. Does that generate the blowback here?

    1. Yes, that's how it works. Many thanks, John!


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