Publishing 2006: More on Lincoln books

Harold Holzer was on C-SPAN radio this morning talking with Brian Lamb. Some interesting points:

* He said that he himself knows of 10 books coming out on Lincoln between now and the Bicentennial. These include (1) Holzer's own study of Lincoln for the period between election and inaugural (2) A book by McPherson of Lincoln as commander-in-chief (3) A title by Craig Symonds evaluating Lincoln as admiral-in-chief.

* He said that in honor of Lincoln's Cooper Union address, two political laughingstocks, Mario Cuomo and newt Gingrich, will debate each other at Cooper Union on February 28.

(Note what Herndon said about Lincoln's preparations for that speech: "No former effort in the line of speech-making had cost Lincoln so much time and thought as this one." I hope that the staffs of Cuomo and Gingrich will exert similar efforts in writing these Feb 28 speeches for their bosses.)

* A caller asked should the Republican Party collapse per the Whig Party, might another Lincoln emerge from the ruins and Holzer not only answered "yes," but that there were "plenty" of Lincolns in both parties.

* Brian Lamb asked Holzer weren't "all these Lincoln books" a "self-reinforcing" activity of "Lincoln lovers"? More surprising than the question was the answer, "This is market driven." Holzer went on to explan that if there were only 50 authors writing books for themselves and their friends, major publishers would not be interested. (He sounded nervous and missed the thrust of the question, I think.)

* In discussing bicentennial resources and events, Holzer pointed listeners to his own commission without making reference to the ALPLM or its bicentennial leadership under the cryptic mysterion "Rick Beard."

If I can make an observation without passing into the political psychosis currently dominating pop culture... It has long seemed to me that the backbone of the Lincoln book market is the culturally conservative political liberal. I don't know why that is or what it means but am tempted to fold in Holzer's "many Lincolns" analysis. In other words, I suspect that the nostalgia for Lincoln among culturally conservative political liberals is also associated with an urge to somehow redeem present-day politics with a Lincoln connection or template.

Something to mull over this season besides mulled wine.

(Note: where quote marks appear above, I have am reasonably sure the quote is verbatim.)