Synopses & Reviews
The power of words has rarely been given a more compelling demonstration than in the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln was asked to memorialize the gruesome battle. Instead, he gave the whole nation "a new birth of freedom" in the space of a mere 272 words. His entire life and previous training, and his deep political experience went into this, his revolutionary masterpiece.
By examining both the address and Lincoln in their historical moment and cultural frame, Wills breathes new life into words we thought we knew, and reveals much about a president so mythologized but often misunderstood. Wills shows how Lincoln came to change the world and to effect an intellectual revolution, how his words had to and did complete the work of the guns, and how Lincoln wove a spell that has not yet been broken.
The New York Times
Garry Wills has given our nation's greatest gathering of words...new urgency...demonstrating that Lincoln's words still have power.
Dazzling...Wills is at his best, and his best may be the best that has ever been written about the Gettysburg Address as literature. Boldly revisionist and intoxicatingly original.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
True to its historical antecedents and politically triumphant...A brilliantly creative reading of a critically important, indeed, culturally transforming, political document.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 267-304) and indexes.
About the Author
former Henry R. Luce Professor of American Culture and Public Policy at Northwestern University, is the author of Inventing America
and Explaining America,
as well as Reagan's America, Under God, Nixon Agonistes, The Kennedy Imprisonment,
and other books. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Table of Contents
Key to Brief Citations
1. Oratory of the Greek Revival
2. Gettysburg and the Culture of Death
3. The Transcendental Declaration
4. Revolution in Thought
5. Revolution in Style
I. What Lincoln Said: The Text
II. Where He Said It: The Site
III. Four Funeral Orations
A. By Everett
B. By Pericles
C. By Gorgias
D. The Gettysburg Address
1. Spoken Text(?)
2. Final Text
Index to the Gettysburg Address
Index to Other Major Lincoln Texts