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Conversations with Lincoln

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A Lincoln book that says something new is a rarity. Conversations with Lincoln is just such a book. In it Charles M. Segal has collected and presented more than one hundred interviews with Lincoln as President-elect and President. As a revelation of the intimate, human side of Abraham Lincoln, it will be a source of endless fascination to every reader interested in the Civil War era. This is a wide-ranging and engaging volume. The conversations collected here (between 1860 and 1865) range from brief remarks to extended discussions. Mr. Segal introduces each interview and the personalities involved. The collection is arranged chronologically, giving a rich picture of the Lincoln presidency. Charles M. Segal was born in Montreal, attended college there, and served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He holds degrees from Skidmore College and Union College. After World War II, he became a reporter and a foreign correspondent for a number of papers in Canada and the United States. After settling in the U.S., he began his serious study of Lincoln and the Civil War. David Donald is Charles Warren Professor of American History Emeritus at Harvard University

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The reissue of Conversations with Lincoln is a great boon to scholars. Expertly edited, it presents observations of the Great Emancipator by contemporaries. Over one hundred interviews furnish indispensable sources for the study...not otherwise easily accessible. The historical profession as well as the general public will welcome this new edition." – Hans L. Trefousse, Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus, Brooklyn College "Conversations with Lincoln is a fascinating and informative collection of Abraham Lincoln's own words which he spoke but did not set down on paper. Charles M. Segal, with great skill and scholarship, has assembled, edited and annotated these primary records from numerous sources-many of them hidden in contemporary newspapers, etc. This volume is a veritable mine of information which is a genuine treasure to all those interested in Lincoln and the Civil War....I recommend it to all without reservation." – Wayne C. Temple, author of By Square and Compass: The Saga of the Lincoln Home and Abraham Lincoln: From Skeptic to Prophet "Conversations with Lincoln is...a genuinely innovative and absolutely indispensable work of scholarship, one that continues to illuminate through all changes of academic fashion. Charles Segal has done here what no other historian has done hitherto, with a thoroughness and sophistication which ensure that this work will have a permanent place in American historical and cultural studies." – Sacvan Bercovitch, Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University
Collecting recollections of conversations from letters, newspaper accounts, journals and diaries, and testimonies before Congressional committees, this 1961 volume has been reprinted with a new introduction that reflects on the historical importance of the conversations, arguing that they show the inner political and philosophical core of Abraham Lincoln, even as they demonstrate many moods and facets of character. The conversations recounted all took place between 1860 and 1865, naturally tending to focus on the Civil War. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765809339
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/22/2002
  • Pages: 454
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the Transaction Edition 9
Acknowledgments 12
Introduction 15
Editor's Preface 19
Chapter 1 "Miscellaneous and Incongruous Elements"
"Pennsylvania Bows to Illinois" 29
"He Liked to See His Friends" 32
"If They Hear Not Moses ..." 35
"Pronounced Not Guilty ..." 37
Chapter 2 "Fortunate for the Peace"
"My Declarations Have Been Made" 42
"A Relative of Mrs. L." 44
"Mr. Lincoln Did Not Believe ..." 45
"Friendly Towards the South" 46
"I Accepted His Invitation" 48
"The 'Black Republican' Lion" 52
"Never a Boss Cabinet-Maker" 54
"Good Ground to Live and to Die By" 61
"The Real Question at Issue" 62
"Cameron Cannot be Trusted" 63
"The Conditions of the Peons" 65
"No Good Results Would Follow" 67
"No Change in the Firm" 68
"One Term Might Satisfy" 71
"Hostility ... to Gen. Cameron" 76
"Mr. Lincoln ... Had No Fears" 78
"Plain as a Turnpike Road" 80
"If ... Washington Occupied the Seat" 85
Chapter 3 "Think Calmly and Well"
"Some Man ... Who Could Get on a Horse" 97
"What Have I Done Wrong?" 98
"Mr. President, If I Had Control" 101
"The Powhatan Must be Restored" 107
"Mr. President, I ... Concur" 109
"Troops ... Through Baltimore" 111
"About the Law of Nations" 113
"To Lose Kentucky ..." 114
Chapter 4 "The Heather is on Fire"
"That Has to Come Down" 121
"Mixed Up with Office-Seekers" 123
"The Greatest Coward" 125
"No Curse Could be Greater" 127
"That ... is ... Emancipation" 129
"Quite a Female Politician" 131
"'The Little Corporal' of Unfought Fields" 134
"I Have a Notion ..." 137
"If Old Scott Had Legs" 138
Chapter 5 "The Fat's in the Fire"
"The Policy of Paying" 145
"Seward ... Caused Us Uneasiness" 145
"A Monstrous Extravagance" 148
"He Would Like to Borrow It" 150
"Whispering ... Recommenced" 153
"A Frank Confession" 156
"The Gallant ... Ills. Troops" 158
"It is a D--D Fizzle" 159
"A Very Ugly Matter" 161
"Day-Star of a New ... Dawn" 162
"The Sensibilities of the Slave States" 164
"Yesterday ... He Shed Tears" 169
"In ... Strictest Confidence" 170
"The Next Most Troublesome Subject" 171
"Nobody was Hurt" 173
"The Blow Must Fall" 174
Chapter 6 "The Gases of Public Exasperation"
"The ... Hands to Ethiopia" 184
"Two Colored Regiments" 186
"What the Executive Had to Say" 187
"Distressed ... Exceedingly" 192
"I Can Never Feel Confident" 195
"The Pope's Bull Against the Comet" 196
"Desire to do You Justice" 203
"Promise ... to My Maker" 206
"Would You ... Shake Hands with Me ...?" 210
Chapter 7 "Like a Chinaman Beating His Swords"
"Tell Me Frankly ..." 215
"What do These Men Want?" 220
"To Tender ... Their Friendly Counsel" 222
Lincoln's Fear: "a General Smash-Up" 226
"This ... Cuts the Gordian [K]not" 231
"The President ... Expressed Misgivings" 232
"My Whole Soul is in it" 234
"Stronger with the Country" 235
"No Reason ... to Resign" 236
"He Had to Make Way for Joshua" 237
"He did not Know what Better to do" 240
"As Water Bubbling" 242
"Evils of Being so Far Apart" 247
"The Tail of the Army" 248
"Because They Cultivate the Earth" 253
"Full Length 'Landscape'" 258
"What Will the Country Say!" 261
"Whose Wife Will I Take?" 262
"A Very Long Grace for a Thin Plate of Soup" 264
"Hooker Had Taken Umbrage" 267
Chapter 8 "Anything But a Bed of Roses"
"Here Goes for Two Years More" 273
"The First Great Man" 275
"More Angry Than I Ever Saw Him" 278
"Our Military Horoscope is ... Clouded" 280
"Beware of Being Assailed by One" 282
Chapter 9 "A Leader to Speak the Bold Word"
"Pursuit of the Presidency" 293
"Controversy Between the Two Sets" 295
"It Secures Us Tennessee" 297
"Stay with Her as Long as You Can" 298
"Fully Apprehensive of the Schemes" 300
"If it is All the Same to You" 301
"This is General Grant, is It?" 305
"I Have a Clear Conscience" 307
"Beehive ... Kicked Over" 310
"Pity to Spoil so Good a Story" 316
Chapter 10 "It is Not Best to Swap Horses"
"He was ... Non-Committal" 325
"What! Am I Renominated?" 326
"They Had Touched His Clothes" 327
"Better Let it Alone this Time" 329
"He Knows the Ropes" 331
"I Doubt the Authority" 333
"The People with the Governing Power" 335
"Am I to be the Mere Puppet of Power ...?" 336
"I Vote for Massa Lincoln" 338
"I Will Manage My Side ... My Way" 341
"No Right to Seek Personal Political Favors" 342
"Let Me Beg You Not to Try" 343
"For Aunty Sojourner Truth" 345
"In Carpet Slippers" 347
Chapter 11 "It Made My Heart Jump"
"So Goes the Union, They Say" 355
"Before My Own Conscience" 358
"If All the Rest Oppose" 360
"A Very Excellent Judge" 361
"The King's Cure-All for All Evils" 362
"It was Only a Good Idea" 364
"I Will Meet Them Personally" 366
"I Always Plucked a Thistle ..." 371
"Here Comes My Friend Douglass" 373
"That Troubles Me Most" 373
"It was the Easiest Thing" 375
"Willing to Share Their Dangers" 378
"I Want No One Punished" 381
"I Reckon They'll Accept" 384
"Glory Enough for All" 385
"A Sort of Sneaking Idea" 386
"Spirit of Sincere Liberality" 388
"It is Our Lawful Prize" 390
"Take a Message for Me" 391
"This Strange Dream Again" 393
"You Almost Startle Me" 396
Annotations 397
Selected Bibliography 429
Index 439
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2002

    Conversations With Lincoln

    Charles Segal¿s book entitled ¿Conversations with Lincoln¿ offers a unique view into both our country¿s early history as well as the personal and political struggles that Abraham Lincoln endured throughout his tenure as our nation¿s leader. While many authors have explored various aspects of Lincoln and his administration, Segal¿s innovative approach provides an objective assessment of the political and social dynamics that surrounded Lincoln¿s decision-making throughout his presidency. By chronologically organizing excerpts from personal interviews and narrative accounts, ¿Conversations with Lincoln¿ captures Lincoln¿s valiant effort of uniting the United States while steadfastly working to protect the integrity of the Constitution. Lincoln¿s own thoughts provide rare social commentary as well as vivid insight into one of America¿s greatest leaders. I sincerely recommend this book to anyone interested in gaining a more accurate perspective of both Abraham Lincoln and the United States during this extraordinary time period.

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