However, each covers a separate agenda. The first title contains a condensed version, in my opinion, of Michael Burlingame’s previous works. The book is divided into 11 chapters, each dealing with various phases of Lincoln’s handling of the Civil War. Although the liner notes claim the book offers new perspectives on Lincoln’s personality, I failed to find them.
What I did find is an interesting premise that the Union waged war from an “underdog” position. Burlingame writes from that perspective and shows how Lincoln’s “steady hand” turned the tide to victory. I found this very interesting “food for thought” and further study. I think you will as well, and this book would be a worthy addition to your library.
The second title is a study of the Lincoln marriage, with background information on the Lincolns’ early lives. There is little new here for the advanced student, but it is interesting reading nonetheless.
As the book progresses, author Kenneth Winkle uses a novel device: he compares the Lincolns to the average middle-class couples of the day. I found this most interesting. Quite differently, he compares Mary’s grief to that of Queen Victoria.
Abraham and Mary’s whole life together is covered in less than 150 pages. Winkle explains the strange dichotomy of their relationship: Mary was a strong asset to Lincoln’s career but at the same time proved detrimental. I found this book lacking in depth, but one cannot have it all in so short a volume.
Both of these books would be valuable additions to a Lincoln Library and both provide ample directions for further learning and research.
Joseph A. Truglio