Synopses & Reviews
President Lincoln used his own weapons--his words-- to fight the Civil War as brilliantly as any general who ever took the field. In Lincoln on War
, historian Harold Holzer gathers and interprets Lincoln's speeches, letters, memoranda, orders, telegrams, and casual remarks, organizing them chronologically and allowing readers to experience Lincoln's growth from an eager young Indian War officer to a middle-aged dove congressman to a surprisingly hardened and determined hawk as the Union's commander-in-chief.
We observe a man willing to sacrifice life and treasure in unprecedented quantities, to risk wounding the pride of vain generals, and even to mislead the public if it meant the preservation of an unbreakable union of states, the destruction of slavery, and the restoration of America as an example to inspire the world. This volume covers strategy; tactics; the endless hiring, sustaining, motivating, and dismissal of commanders; military discipline; and military technology. Modern commanders-in-chief have repeatedly quoted Lincoln to justify their own wars, so it behooves us as citizens to know Lincoln's record well. From masterpieces such as the Gettysburg Address to lesser-known meditations on God's purposes, Lincoln on War is the first book to highlight exclusively Lincoln's sublime and enduring words on war.
"Lincoln scholar Holzer assembles a valuable collection of letters, speeches, and casual observations of 16th president on the nature of war and the battles that defined his presidency. Dating from the years of Lincoln's brief military service to the day of his assassination, many of Lincoln's commentaries continue to resonate today. As a congressman, Lincoln was a passionate opponent of the Mexican-American War and chided President James Polk for not having an exit strategy and his unilateral decision making. However, the Civil War forced Lincoln to make the same sort of autocratic decisions that he had once criticized; he did not hesitate, for instance, to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. Lincoln had a sophisticated understanding of military strategy and his well-known exasperation with Gen. George McClellan is on full display here, as McClellan's avoidance of battle eventually forced Lincoln to relieve him of duty. Holzer does a splendid job of introducing and explaining texts, particularly those involving slavery. Lincoln shrewdly used emancipation as both a political and military tool before fully developing his plan to recruit African-Americans into the war effort. This compact and powerful volume is a dramatic account of the most decisive conflict in the American history in the words of its principal architect, and is long overdue. Photos. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Harold Holzer is one of the country’s leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. He has published over thirty books, including "The New York Times" Complete Civil War (Black Dog and Leventhal), and is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the Lincoln Prize and the National Humanities Medal. He lectures widely, appears on television frequently, and has written for the New York Times, American Heritage, and America’s Civil War