Saturday, February 13, 2010

Five best books about Abraham Lincoln

Michael Burlingame, holder of the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, is the author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life (2 vols.; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008) and The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994).

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books about Abraham Lincoln.

One title on the list:
The Young Eagle
by Kenneth J. Winkle
Taylor, 2001

Kenneth J. Winkle mined public records (census data, voting returns, legislative roll calls and the like) to compose a strikingly original study that locates Lincoln in the context of his time and place. The author shows, for example, that the Colonization Society in Springfield, Ill., to which Lincoln belonged, was not a racist outfit, as is often alleged, and that its members opposed the harsh anti-black measures adopted by Illinois voters. Winkle also explains the paradox of Lincoln's devotion to the Whig Party, traditionally viewed as the bastion of privilege and aristocracy, rather than to the Jacksonian Democrats, the professed champions of the common man. Lincoln believed that the Whig program of support for banks, tariffs and infrastructure improvement would allow poor subsistence farmers, like his father, to enter a market economy and thus escape the poverty and backwardness that young Lincoln had observed on the frontier.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue