In Lincoln's Hand: His Original Manuscripts with Commentary by Distinguished Americans

In Lincoln's Hand: His Original Manuscripts with Commentary by Distinguished Americans

by Harold Holzer
     
 

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On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and in conjunction with the Library of Congress 2009 Bicentennial Exhibition, In Lincoln’s Hand offers an unprecedented look at perhaps our greatest president through vivid images of his handwritten letters, speeches, and even childhood notebooks—many never before madeSee more details below

Overview

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and in conjunction with the Library of Congress 2009 Bicentennial Exhibition, In Lincoln’s Hand offers an unprecedented look at perhaps our greatest president through vivid images of his handwritten letters, speeches, and even childhood notebooks—many never before made available to the public.

Edited by leading Lincoln scholars Joshua Wolf Shenk and Harold Holzer, this companion volume to the Library of Congress exhibition offers a fresh and intimate perspective on a man whose thoughts and words continue to affect history. To underscore the resonance of Lincoln’s writings on contemporary culture, each manuscript is accompanied by a reflection on Lincoln by a prominent American from the arts, politics, literature, or entertainment, including Toni Morrison, Sam Waterston, Robert Pinsky, Gore Vidal, and presidents Carter, George H.W., and George W. Bush.

While Lincoln’s words are quite well known, the original manuscripts boast a unique power and beauty and provide rare insight into the creative process. In this collection we can see the ebb and flow of Lincoln’s thoughts, emotions, hopes, and doubts. We can see where he paused to dip his pen in the ink or to capture an idea. We can see where he added a word or phrase, and where he crossed out others, searching for the most precise, and concise, expression. In these marks on the page, Lincoln’s character is available to us with a profound immediacy. From such icons as the Gettysburg Address and the inaugural speeches to seldom-seen but superb rarities, here is the world as Lincoln saw and shaped it in words and images that resound to this very day.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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 Proclamation editorial by New York Times founder Horace Greeley that excoriated Lincoln for not acting sooner to free the slaves: "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it." Alongside these full-color reproductions and their transcripts, the editors run commentary from "Distinguished Americans"-including E.L. Doctorow, Sandra Day O'Connor, Kathryn Harrison, Walter Mosley, William Safire, Stephen Spielberg, Toni Morrison, Conan O'Brien, John Updike, and four former Presidents-that are generally entertaining but vary in quality of insight (and occasionally in credibility-Bush II's contribution reads like it was cribbed from a textbook). A vibrant collector's item, this book should please any Lincoln aficionado, and makes an absorbing introduction for students and the historically curious.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Getting to see the writings of anyone from the past-on paper in his or her own hand-draws in the viewer and makes a long-ago figure seem close. Here we gaze at manuscripts of Abraham Lincoln, with very helpful transcriptions provided, and so, as the editors say, we're "thrust into a new intimacy with Lincoln's mind." This book stands out among Lincoln birth bicentennial books because of its intent visually to show Lincoln in the act, as it were, of reckoning with the many forces in his life. The 41 manuscripts included (to appear in the Library of Congress's exhibit, "With Malice Toward None," opening on February 12, 2009, with later stops in Sacramento, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Omaha) are each newly approached by a prominent person in today's culture. There's Cynthia Ozick on Lincoln's 1848 ruminations on Niagara Falls; Conan O'Brien checking out Lincoln's humor; both presidents Bush, as well as Carter and Clinton; Liam Neeson, a future President Lincoln (via Spielberg); and Henry Louis Gates. Many of the Lincoln pieces included are well known, but whether they're familiar or not, we rarely get to gaze on them so movingly, ink on paper. Highly recommended for all public, high school, and college libraries.
—Margaret Heilbrun

School Library Journal

Adult/High School

This book has been published in conjunction with the Library of Congress's exhibition marking the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth. The beautifully produced volume culls some 40 documents handwritten by the president together with an equal number of commentaries by present-day Americans of note. These contributors range from past presidents (Carter, Clinton, Bush, and Bush) to authors and scholars (John Updike, John Hope Franklin, Toni Morrison, Sven Birkerts), and to people in the performing arts (Steven Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Ken Burns, Conan O'Brien). They all offer brief, thoughtful reflections on the manuscripts presented. The quality of the reproductions is high, providing readers with an accurate representation of the color and texture of the documents, and the clarity of the handwriting in them. Also, the volume is generously illustrated with well-chosen photographs, drawings, and prints. But by far its greatest triumph lies in the thoughts and words of Lincoln himself and the unique window into the creation of those words the handwritten sheets of paper provide. In these drafts of speeches (including Gettysburg and the first and second inaugurals), letters, notes, poems, and other writings, readers glimpse the mind of the author at work. They see strikeovers, insertions, rewriting in the margins; they even see where Lincoln paused to dip his pen in the ink. Everyone knows about the man's political accomplishments, his statesmanship, and his oratory skills, but teens will learn much more from this volume.-Robert Saunderson, formerly at Berkeley Public Library, CA

From the Publisher
“Beautifully reproduces facsimiles of many of the historic documents…Like the words it enshrines, this inspiring tribute will last more than a lifetime.—American History

“A vibrant collector’s item, this book should please any Lincoln aficionado, and makes an absorbing introduction for students and the historically curious.” —Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345544391
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/13/2013
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
825,455
File size:
37 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

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From the Publisher
“Beautifully reproduces facsimiles of many of the historic documents…Like the words it enshrines, this inspiring tribute will last more than a lifetime.—American History

“A vibrant collector’s item, this book should please any Lincoln aficionado, and makes an absorbing introduction for students and the historically curious.” —Publishers Weekly

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