Synopses & Reviews
One of the nation's foremost Lincoln scholars offers an authoritative consideration of the document that represents the most far-reaching accomplishment of our greatest president.
No single official paper in American history changed the lives of as many Americans as Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. But no American document has been held up to greater suspicion. Its bland and lawyerlike language is unfavorably compared to the soaring eloquence of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural; its effectiveness in freeing the slaves has been dismissed as a legal illusion. And for some African-Americans the Proclamation raises doubts about Lincoln himself.
Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation dispels the myths and mistakes surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation and skillfully reconstructs how America's greatest president wrote the greatest American proclamation of freedom.
"By setting the Proclamation in its exceedingly dicey context, Guelzo shows how tempting it is to read a false tidiness into political acts that in their time and place were perilously contingent, more gamble than sure thing."
-- The Washington Post
"Authoritative and scholarly storytelling, bursting with quotes from contemporaries and period newspapers...rich and compelling...Guelzo has begun a conversation that is long overdue. And he has done so with a book that immediately takes its place not only as the newest study of emancipation, but far and away, the very best."
-- Harold Holzer, Civil War Book Review
"This impressive work is a splendid history of the genesis, issuance and aftermath of Lincoln's epoch-making Emancipation Proclamation...The political and legal reasoning behind Lincoln's series of hugely difficult decisions has never been presented so well before nor in such authoritative detail...It's hard to imagine that this book will soon be surpassed as the definitive work on the subject."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Though it was doubtless the most important document of Abraham Lincoln's presidency the Emancipation Proclamation remains a profoundly misunderstood and underappreciated work. Hopefully, that will now change, thanks to Professor Allen C. Guelzo's incisive history of the document...Guelzo destroys many of the popular myths concerning the Proclamation...and he shows convincingly how a war that had begun to preserve the Union gradually devolved into a conflict about slavery."
-- New York Post
"The book is a tour de force, making it impossible for anyone to take seriously the simplistic views of Lincoln and the Proclamation that all too often dominate the historical debate today...Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
is the definitive treatment of emancipation. Allen Guelzo deserves our immense gratitude for returning this critical document to its place of honor in the history of the American Republic."
-- Mackubin Thomas Owens, National Review
"Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
restores in its fullness to our memory and understanding an unrivalled act of American statesmanship. In accomplishing this, Guelzo demonstrates the rare discernment -- I do not hesitate to say wisdom -- required of the serious historian...There is no more fitting praise for this book than to say that it is worthy of its subject."
-- Peter Schramm, The Claremont Review of Books
"Most if not all of the preceding works [on the Emancipation Proclamation] will now pale with the publication of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
by [this] highly respected Lincoln scholar...With this volume, decades of misunderstanding about Lincoln's most controversial action now give way to exactly what Lincoln's proclamation was, for then and for all times."
-- Richmond Times-Dispatch
About the Author
Allen C. Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College, where he also directs the Civil War Era Studies Program and The Gettysburg Semester. He is the author of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (1999) and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America (2004), both of which won the Lincoln Prize. He has written essays and reviews for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time, the Journal of American History, and many other publications.
Table of Contents
One: Four Ways to Freedom
Two: The President Will Rise
Three: An Instrument In God's Hands
Four: The Mighty Act
Five: Fame Takes Him By The Hand
Postscript: Father Abraham