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The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slaveryby Eric Foner
Synopses & Reviews
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE FIERY TRIAL:
“While many thousands of books deal with Lincoln and slavery, Eric Foner has written the definitive account of this crucial subject, illuminating in a highly original and profound way the interactions of race, slavery, public opinion, politics, and Lincoln’s own character that led to the wholly improbable uncompensated emancipation of some four million slaves. Even seasoned historians will acquire fresh and new perspectives from reading The Fiery Trial.” —David Brion Davis, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University, author of Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World
“Definitive and breathtaking: with dazzling clarity and authority, demonstrating a total command of his sources and a sense of moral justice that transcends history, Foner has done nothing less than provide the most persuasive book ever written on Lincoln’s vital place in the fight for freedom in America. This volume stands alone in the field. It is not only the best account ever written on the subject; henceforth, it should be regarded as the only account.” —Harold Holzer, author of Lincoln President-Elect
“Eric Foner has done it again. The Fiery Trialexplores the pivotal subject of Lincoln and slavery free from the mists of hagiography and the muck of denigration. With his usual stylish mastery, Foner advances enlightened debate over our greatest president, the origins and unfolding of the Civil War, and the abolition of southern slavery. His book marks an auspicious intellectual beginning to the sesquicentennial of the American Iliad.” —Sean Wilentz, author of The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln
From a master historian, the story of Lincoln's—and the nation's—transformation through the crucible of slavery and emancipation.
No other contemporary historian has had a greater impact on how scholars and the general public think about our past than Eric Foner. In a landmark work of deep scholarship and insight, Foner gives us a life of Lincoln as it intertwined with slavery, the defining issue of the time and the tragic hallmark of American history. As the nation expanded into new western territories and economic pursuits, the continuing strength of slavery spawned a new and divisive politics. Lincoln navigated this dynamic political landscape deftly, moving in measured steps, often on a path forged by abolitionists and radicals in his party. Lincoln's personal and political journey led him finally to embrace what he called the Civil War's "astounding" result-the immediate, uncompensated abolition of slavery-and recognition of blacks as American citizens. Foner's Lincoln is a leader whose greatness lay in his capacity for moral and political growth.
In a landmark work of deep scholarship and insight, Foner gives us a life of Lincoln as it intertwined with slavery, the defining issue of the time and the tragic hallmark of American history. The author demonstrates how Lincoln navigated a dynamic political landscape deftly, moving in measured steps, often on a path forged by abolitionists and radicals in his party, and that Lincoln's greatness lay in his capacity for moral and political growth.
About the Author
Eric Foneris DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, where he earned his B.A. and Ph.D. In his teaching and scholarship, Foner focuses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, slavery, and nineteenth-century America. His Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877, won the Bancroft, Parkman, and Los Angeles TimesBook prizes and remains the standard history of the period. In 2006 Foner received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching at Columbia University. He has served as president of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Society of American Historians. He is currently writing a book on Lincoln and slavery.
Table of Contents
"I am naturally anti-slavery" : young Abraham Lincoln and slavery — "Always a Whig" : Lincoln, the law, and the second party system — "The monstrous injustice" : becoming a republican — "A house divided" : slavery and race in the late 1850s — "The only substantial difference" : secession and Civil War — "I must have Kentucky" : the border strategy — "Forever free" : the coming of emancipation — "A new birth of freedom" : securing emancipation — "A fitting, and necessary conclusion" : abolition, reelection, and the challenge of reconstruction — "Every drop of blood" : the meaning of the war.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Biography » Presidents and Heads of State