Lincoln on War by Harold Holzer

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Synopsis

President Lincoln used his own weapons—his words— to fight the Civil War as brilliantly as any general who ever took the field. In Lincoln on War, historian Harold Holzer gathers and interprets Lincoln’s speeches, letters, memoranda, orders, telegrams, and casual remarks, organizing them chronologically and allowing readers to experience Lincoln’s growth from an eager young Indian War officer to a middle-aged dove congressman to a surprisingly hardened and determined hawk as the Union’s commander-in-chief.

We observe a man willing to sacrifice life and treasure in unprecedented quantities, to risk wounding the pride of vain generals, and even to mislead the public if it meant the preservation of an unbreakable union of states, the destruction of slavery, and the restoration of America as an example to inspire the world. This volume covers strategy; tactics; the endless hiring, sustaining, motivating, and dismissal of commanders; military discipline; and military technology. Modern commanders-in-chief have repeatedly quoted Lincoln to justify their own wars, so it behooves us as citizens to know Lincoln’s record well. From masterpieces such as the Gettysburg Address to lesser-known meditations on God’s purposes, Lincoln on War is the first book to highlight exclusively Lincoln’s sublime and enduring words on war.
 

About Harold Holzer

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Harold Holzer, one of the country's leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era, serves as chairman of the Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation. He has authored, coauthored, and edited forty-two books, including Emancipating Lincoln, Lincoln at Cooper Union, and three award-winning books for young readers: Father Abraham: Lincoln and His Sons, The President Is Shot!, and Abraham Lincoln, the Writer. His awards include the Lincoln Prize and the National Humanities Medal. He lives in New York City.
 
Published April 12, 2011 by Algonquin Books. 334 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Lincoln on War

Kirkus Reviews

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Award-winning Lincoln scholar Holzer (Lincoln at Cooper Union, 2004, etc.) meticulously examines the ominous period between the 16th president’s election and his swearing in.

Aug 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Lincoln on War

Kirkus Reviews

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On New Year’s Day 1863, Lincoln steadied himself before signing the document whose culture-changing significance he well understood: “If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.” Today Lincoln’s image as “the Great Emancipator” has eroded—too politically...

Jan 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Lincoln on War

Kirkus Reviews

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Had it not been for his “right makes might” speech on Feb. 27, 1860, at New York’s Cooper Union college, Abraham Lincoln might well have remained a rustic lawyer and back-country raconteur.

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Kirkus Reviews

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Holzer, author and editor of numerous books on the Civil War and Lincoln (The Lincoln Mailbag, not reviewed, etc.), has assembled another collection for those with insatiable appetites for information about the 16th president.

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Kirkus Reviews

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From his inauguration to his assassination, Lincoln fulfilled the role of commander in chief so skillfully as to become a model for succeeding presidents—reason enough, Holzer (Lincoln and New York, 2009, etc.) argues, to understand clearly the Lincoln record.

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Publishers Weekly

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This illustrated volume, companion to the Library of Congress Bicentennial Exhibition, collects Lincolns' letters, speeches, pages from childhood notebooks, ruminations and reactions, including his inaugural addresses, his 1859 autobiographical sketch and his famous reply to a pre-Emancipation Pr...

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The Roanoke Times

In order to avoid too much dissension and to make the proclamation less likely to be gutted by lawsuits and court opinions or to cause further rebellion, Lincoln, as commander-in-chief, issued the proclamation as a document of war.

Mar 22 2012 | Read Full Review of Lincoln on War

The Roanoke Times

However, Holzer’s presentation makes it easy to see that a consistent theme was beginning to develop in Lincoln’s public statements about war and his concepts of American government.

May 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Lincoln on War

Civil War News

For example, Holzer explains that Lincoln’s famous Aug. 22, 1862, letter to Horace Greeley about emancipation took advantage of a political gift: “Greeley did not realize it, but he had given Lincoln a perfect opportunity to couch his forthcoming order [the preliminary emancipation ...

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