Monday, January 9, 2017

Booknotes: The Ultimate Guide to the Gettysburg Address

New Arrival:
The Ultimate Guide to the Gettysburg Address
by David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften (Savas Beatie, 2016).

A quick study at 64 total pages, this slim volume "explains the 272-word speech more thoroughly than any book previously published. With the aid of colorized step-by-step diagrams, the authors deconstruct the speech into its basic elements and demonstrate how the scientific method is basic to the structure of the Gettysburg Address." Authors Hirsch and Van Haften first developed their ideas about Lincoln's use of the principles of geometry in the development of his public rhetoric in their 2010 book Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason (also from Savas Beatie), and this new work appears to be a distillation of those ideas as specifically applied to the Gettysburg speech. In it, they "demonstrate Lincoln’s use of the six elements of a proposition and then diagram and explain how his in-depth study of geometry helped him compose the Gettysburg Address. The result is a deeper and richer understanding of the Gettysburg Address that was not previously possible."


  1. Thank you, Harry, for nothing this title.

    I was skeptical when the authors proposed it, but once I saw it I realized its value. Libraries are picking it up, as are bookstores and individuals, especially those interested in debate, English, law, etc.

    We think it will prove popular, AND helpful.

  2. Harry? Smeltzer and I don't look anything alike!

  3. Ha. Smeltz had just texted me and I was reading that on the side and typing the above. Just to even the scales, I will call him Drew.

  4. Yeah, but he gets the better of the deal on that one.

    1. He says... "No way." He is much the handsomer."


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