Monday, December 26, 2022

Booknotes: Abraham Lincoln and His Times

New Arrival:
Abraham Lincoln and His Times: A Sourcebook on His Life, His Presidency, Slavery and Civil War compiled and edited by Thomas J. Ebert and Allen Carden (McFarland, 2022).

From the description: "Lincoln's significance in the history of slavery and emancipation, the Union's preservation and the formation of a new national vision is crucial to comprehending the antebellum and Civil War periods in American history. [Abraham Lincoln and His Times: A Sourcebook on His Life, His Presidency, Slavery and Civil War] is a one-of-a-kind hybrid reference work that combines chronology with almost 400 primary source papers to contextualize Lincoln's life within his historical era."

This reference book is a beefy 8.5" x 11" paperback over 450 pages in length. The 391 documents compiled by editors Thomas Ebert and Allen Carden are housed in seven chapters, organized by chronology and related theme. The first three chapters address in succession Lincoln's early life and career, the sharp increase in intersectional discord that coincided with Lincoln's highest political ambitions, and the rise to the Lincoln presidency that led to secession and Civil War. These are followed by yearly chapters progressively covering the war and its messy conclusion.

After beginning with a lengthy introduction from Ebert and Carden, each chapter follows an event timeline that contextualizes the documents compiled and arranged within. Originating from a wide range of politicians, military leaders, and civilians on both sides of the divide, documents include letters, speeches, political proclamations, resolutions, platforms, debates, military orders, and more. These documents "illustrate different viewpoints, to provide a full grasp of the time and place, as well as Lincoln's significance during this era." All of the documents (either excerpted or fully reproduced) are sourced, and additional footnotes periodically appear.

More from the description: "These written materials serve as the foundation upon which historians can construct a picture of Lincoln's America. In addition to important chronology and documents, this work includes introductory essays that summarize the topics of each chapter, brief biographies of those referenced in the book, and a source bibliography."

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