Synopses & Reviews
The Lincoln Anthology
brings together for the first time 110 insightful and imaginative selections by a diverse array of 95 writers from William Cullen Bryant to E. L. Doctorow. Here is a composite portrait of our greatest president told by the journalists, biographers, satirists, essayists, novelists, clergymen, poets, play-wrights, historians, memoirists, and statesmen who have shaped our understanding of Lincoln and his complex and crucial legacy over the last 150 years.
The collection includes fascinating firsthand observations by Emerson and Hawthorne, satirical sketches by Artemus Ward and Petroleum V. Nasby, and surprising contemporary commentary by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Karl Marx, George Templeton Strong, and Horace Greeley. Moving eulogies by Henry Ward Beecher and George Bancroft join poetic tributes from James Russell Lowell, Henrik Ibsen, and Walt Whitman. Dramatically contrasting views of Lincoln are provided by his presidential secretaries, John G. Nicolay and John Hay, and his law partner, William H. Herndon. Lincoln's views and deeds on race and emancipation are examined by Frederick Douglass with keen critical candor, while his democratic virtues are extolled by Whitman in luminous prose.
As Lincoln faded from personal memory his legacy grew, becoming more deeply resonant of abiding American themes and also more contested. The Lincoln Anthology traces this evolution through the works of Lincoln's path-breaking biographer Ida Tarbell; through the defining poems of Edwin Arlington Robinson, Vachel Lindsay, and Edgar Lee Masters; through the political rivalry of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, as they vie to lay claim to Lincoln's political mantle; and through the powerful writings of Booker T. Washington, Robert R. Moton, and W.E.B. Du Bois, who testify to the continued power of Lincoln's memory for African Americans struggling with the unfulfilled promise of emancipation.
Later in the 20th century, Carl Sandburg, Robert E. Sherwood, and Mario Cuomo discover in Lincoln a democratic hero for new periods of crisis and conflict; Jacques Barzun, Marianne Moore, and Garry Wills explore his greatness as a writer; and Delmore Schwartz, Edmund Wilson, and Lerone Bennett Jr. make provocative contributions to the anti-Lincoln tradition. As the book draws to the present, Richard Slotkin, Adam Braver, and E. L. Doctorow exemplify the renewed vigor of fictional depictions of Lincoln at the beginning of the 21st century, and Barack Obama lays claims to an unfinished legacy as he announces his bid for the office that Lincoln so memorably transformed.
"This hefty Library of America anthology, edited by Lincoln scholar Holzer (co-chairman of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission), is a solid compilation of work on Abraham Lincoln from a diverse selection of writers in various genres, celebrating his extensive legacy and providing insight from a number of angles and time periods. From William Cullen Bryant's introduction of the little-known Illinois Republican at Cooper Union in Manhattan to Barack Obama's 2007 presidential candidacy announcement (made on Lincoln's birthday at Springfield's Old State Capitol, where Lincoln delivered his 'House Divided' speech), Holzer follows the president's legacy through marquee names like Whitman, Hawthorne, Tolstoy, Marx, Churchill and Doctorow. Including a helpful index and a chronology of Lincoln's life, this voluminous, thorough collection will keep Lincoln fans reading well past the beloved president's upcoming bicentennial." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A thrilling book. Here at last is the living portrait of Lincoln that has eluded photographers and painters for 200 years. Only this great chorus of poets and playwrights, novelists and essayists, historians and statesmen could capture the protean spirit of the man." Daniel Mark Epstein, author of The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage
"To many if not most Americans, Abraham Lincoln and his achievements are bathed in a golden mist of myth and sentiment....The Lincoln Anthology...send[s] a brisk wind clearing away the mist, giving us a better look at the realities." Denver Post
Abraham Lincoln has achieved an unrivaled preeminence in American history, culture, and myth. Here, for the bicentennial of his birth, Lincoln and his enduring legacy are the focus of nearly 100 major authors and important historical figures from his time to the present. Edited by celebrated Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, this collection gathers fascinating writing from a variety of genres to illuminate the Lincoln we know and revere. It enables readers to rediscover Lincoln anew through the eyes of some of our greatest writers, including Winston Churchill, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, U. S. Grant, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Victor Hugo, Henrik Ibsen, Karl Marx, Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Gore Vidal, Booker T. Washington, H. G. Wells, Walt Whitman, Garry Wills, and many others. The Lincoln Anthology includes illustrations and a detailed chronology of Lincoln's life.
About the Author
Harold Holzer, volume editor, is the co-chairman of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. He has written, co-written, or edited 22 books on Abraham Lincoln, including Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861; Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President; Lincoln on Democracy (with Mario M. Cuomo); and The Lincoln Image (with Gabor S. Boritt and Mark E. Neely Jr.). He is Senior Vice President for External Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.