Seen in the papers

Lots of ACW titles are appearing in display ads. Everything below has appeared in the two issues of the Claremont Review of Books closest at hand (Harry Jaffa is an editor).

These have piqued my interest for better or worse.

Praeger released these a year ago and I missed them.

Antietam 1862: Gateway to Emancipation by T. Stephen Whitman
The high price, the blurb from James Marten, the lack of reviews on Amazon tell me this is assigned reading for resentful students who must learn to connect two dots.

The Seven Days' Battles: The War Begins Anew by Judkin Browning
"The work contains sufficient depth of information to serve as a resource for undergraduate American history students while providing enjoyable reading for Civil War enthusiasts..." I like this part, "...both sides committed many errors that could have affected the outcome..." The errors recounted look like an executive summary of Cliff Dowdey's book.

Civil War Journalism (Reflections on the Civil War Era) by Ford Risley
Promises an "introductory view" of Northern and Southern journalism in just 154 pages priced at $35.15.

It's interesting that a publisher could commit financially to three ACW titles and come up with this set.

SIU Press, a great source of Lincolniana, issued these titles at the end of last year.

Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln by Jason Emerson
Bob Lincoln's conduct of his affairs at the tactical level I find very impressive. On the strategic level, I find him blundering abetted by his father's friends and their shallow judgments. (His mother's involuntary commitment was a great mistake). This book might clarify my thinking, given its four-and-a-half star Amazon rating and its publisher's ad copy promising new discoveries, but at 640 pages, the author asks for a commitment I may not be able to give.

Lincoln's Ladder to the Presidency: The Eight Judicial Circuit by Guy C. Fraker
You might think that here's a book written by a lawyer (Fraker) for lawyers. However, this book covers the important and unknown period of Lincoln's casework for Illinois Central and for his boss George B. McClellan. A peek at the index disappoints, however. There are only 15 references to the Illinois Central and only eight to GBM, two of those being contextually asynchronous. Recall that McClellan built the first U.S. ro-ro network and Lincoln played a role in helping win relevant land rights.(I will run a post or two on Lincoln's period as McClellan's employee: shame on historians for their neglect of this.)

Lincoln and the Constitution by Brian Dirck
Longtime readers will recognize the author as a former blogger who has made good, or at least "pretty good." This book was consigned to the purgatory of a series ("The Concise Lincoln Library")and (given its academic mission) has scored no reviews at all on Amazon, due perhaps, to the recalcitrant nature of students everywhere. To add injury to insult, Amazon displays it with full-blooded works on the same topic: Lincoln's Constitution by Daniel A. Farber (four stars); and Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War by Mark E. Neely (no reviews but blurbs out the wazoo).

The Concise Lincoln Library contains other titles that have been advertised.

Lincoln as Hero by Frank J. Williams looks (from its dust jacket copy) like grammar school stuff. "Lincoln extolled the foundational virtues of American society" blah, blah, blah. Williams is not happy with the old grammar school indoctrination (Lincoln was great because he freed the slaves). Instead, he argues that Lincoln displayed heroism at every stage of his life. Readers will recall Frank Williams "Admits Copying Inadvertently." See also Ferguson's sketch of the man in Land of Lincoln.

Lincoln and Medicine by Glenna Schroeder-Lein
I was expecting, from the title, a volume explaining how AL had cured all diseases and saved millions of lives but this is a book compiling all his maladies. The author promises to review (pro and con) the case made for each malady ever proposed.

Lincoln and Race by Richard Striner
"Did Lincoln fight a long-term struggle to overcome his personal racism? Or were his racist comments a calculated act of political deception?" Did I mention that Lincoln freed the slaves? Will pass on this one.

To be continued ...