So Many Lincoln Books, So Little Time

Posted February 2, 2009 at 3:54pm

A motivated reader could start now and read new books on former President Abraham Lincoln all the way to next February without running out of titles. Here is a selection of some of the new releases from 2008 and this year, an offering that ranges from attention to the miniscule elements of Lincoln’s life to more grand themes.

• In “Lincoln As I Knew Him,” Harold Holzer, author of at least 22 other books on Lincoln, has put together an assortment of letters, diary entries, books and speeches written about Lincoln because the man kept no journal himself.

• “A. Lincoln: A Biography,” by Ronald C. White Jr., author of two other best-sellers on Lincoln, offers a new look at Lincoln’s personal, political and moral growth.

• “Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on Our Sixteenth President,” edited by Brian Lamb and Susan Swain, is a C-SPAN book that gathers 56 writers and historians to discuss everything from Lincoln’s oratory style to his effect on taxes.

• “The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage,” by Daniel Mark Epstein, released last May, focuses on a political marriage, the personality of Mary Todd Lincoln and the role that their children played.

• “They Have Killed Papa Dead! The Road to Ford’s Theatre, Abraham Lincoln’s Murder and the Rage for Vengeance” by Anthony S. Pitch (which was reviewed in Roll Call on Jan. 6) sheds light on the minute details of Lincoln’s death and the flight of John Wilkes Booth and the other assassins.

• “Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass & Abraham Lincoln,” by John Stauffer, shows the connections between two greats.

• “Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated with Our Greatest President,” by Edward Steers Jr., answers oddball questions on topics such as Lincoln’s sexuality or whether he was ever baptized.