Sunday, November 09, 2008

Five best: books about leaders paired by history

At the Wall Street Journal, Nicholas Wapshott named a five best list of books about "leaders paired by history."

One title on the list:
Lincoln and Douglas
by Allen C. Guelzo
Simon & Schuster, 2008

As the recently concluded campaign confirmed, presidential debates are wholly unsatisfying, yet their wellspring is the epic series of seven debates held in 1858 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, both candidates for the Senate from Illinois. These debates shaped the arguments, in particular over slavery, that would be settled in the political and military battles to come. Allen C. Guelzo provides an engaging account of the men's eloquent punching and counterpunching, but he also tells how the debates themselves captivated America and were reported and misreported by both sides. While Kennedy and Nixon, in 1960, captured some of the spirit of this verbal swordplay, the demands of television and the rise of show business in politics have made unlikely such an intelligent contest of competing ideas.
Read about another book on Wapshott's list.

Nicholas Wapshott is the author of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage.

The Page 99 Test: Allen C. Guelzo's Lincoln and Douglas.

--Marshal Zeringue