Lincoln and Leadership: Military, Political, and Religious Decision Making

Lincoln and Leadership: Military, Political, and Religious Decision Making

by Randall M. Miller, Allen C. Guelzo
     
 

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A book that does something truly remarkable: says something new about Lincoln!

Lincoln and Leadership offers fresh perspectives on the 16th president-making novel contributions to the scholarship of one of the more studied figures of American history. The book explores Lincoln's leadership through essays focused, respectively, on Lincoln as commander-in-chief

Overview

A book that does something truly remarkable: says something new about Lincoln!

Lincoln and Leadership offers fresh perspectives on the 16th president-making novel contributions to the scholarship of one of the more studied figures of American history. The book explores Lincoln's leadership through essays focused, respectively, on Lincoln as commander-in-chief, deft political operator, and powerful theologian. Taken together, the essays suggest the interplay of military, political, and religious factors informing Lincoln's thought and action and guiding the dynamics of his leadership. The contributors, all respected scholars of the Civil War era, focus on several critical moments in Lincoln's presidency to understand the ways Lincoln understood and dealt with such issues and concerns as emancipation, military strategy, relations with his generals, the use of black troops, party politics and his own re-election, the morality of the war, the place of America in God's design, and the meaning and obligations of sustaining the Union.

Overall, they argue that Lincoln was simultaneously consistent regarding his commitments to freedom, democratic government, and Union but flexible, and sometimes contradictory, in the means to preserve and extend them. They further point to the ways that Lincoln's decision making defined the presidency and recast understandings of American "exceptionalism." They emphasize that the "real" Lincoln was an unabashed party man and shrewd politician, a self-taught commander-in-chief, and a deeply religious man who was self-confident in his ability to judge men and to persuade them with words but unsure of what God demanded from America for its collective sins of slavery. Randall Miller's Introduction in particular provides essential weight to the notion that Lincoln's presidential leadership must be seen as a series of interlocking stories. In the end, the contributors collectively remind readers that the Lincoln enshrined as the "Great Emancipator" and "savior of the Union" was in life and practice a work-in-progress. And they insist that "getting right with Lincoln" requires seeing the intersections of his-and America's-military, political, and religious interests and identities.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book adds color and nuance to this man who has achieved mythical status in our national imagination." -Intellect

"Lincoln and Leadership brings readers closer to our 16th president. Abraham Lincoln's distinctive strengthsempathy and backbone, humility and supreme self-confidence, pragmatism about means yet an almost theological understanding of America's place in the worldcome through clearly. Brimming with insight and lucidly argued, the essays collected here, along with Randall Miller's shrewd assessment of Lincoln literature, will help readers become more familiar with this Lincoln." -Michael Birkner, Gettysburg College

"Lincoln and Leadership is not merely interesting; it is informative reading—a singular accomplishment in an area so extremely rich. The literature on Lincoln is almost limitless, yet in this book there are fresh ideas, new perspectives, and interesting argument. It merits the attention of specialists and general readers alike. -Paul Escott, Wake Forest University

"Overall, this volume will appeal to scholars, Lincoln enthusiasts, and students. It offers readers a real bargain in a brief volume- perhaps the best bang for the buck of any Lincoln book on the market. The editor, contributors, and publisher deserve major credit for producing this thoughtful, readable, and enjoyable book." -The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

"Lincoln and Leadership offers a fairly cohesive examination of the myriad leadership roles taken on by the nations sixteenth president and provides further proof that even in this day of a deluge of Lincoln works, there is still room for reexaminations of Lincoln's presidency and the larger legacy it has left..."—H-Net Reviews

Library Journal
This compendium of revised and expanded papers by historians Gregory Urwin (history, Temple Univ.), Matthew Pinsker (Civil War history, Dickinson Coll.), and Harry Stout (American religious history, Yale), supplemented by an introduction by editor Miller (history, St. Joseph's Univ.) and an afterward by Allen Guelzo (Civil War studies, Gettysburg Coll.), originally delivered at a Lincoln birth bicentennial, shows that Lincoln studies still have much to offer. The pieces here reveal new insights on choices the 16th president made based on his moral and nondenominational religious precepts. Lincoln is revealed here as an ambiguous, multilayered figure—self-confident, yet humble; frequently humorous, yet melancholy; someone who kept his personal and official stances separate and who viewed government as a positive and benevolent force. Practically deified immediately after his death, Lincoln has since been humanized, and these essays continue that trend. The book is illustrated with photographs and prints from such notables as Alexander Gardner, Matthew Brady, Adalbert Volck, Currier and Ives, and others, and the captions add interpretive details useful in the context of a politician acknowledged to be so conscious of his image. VERDICT This reconsideration of Lincoln's consultative yet decisive decision-making process underlines the continuing relevance of how he used executive power, considered in relation to today's politics. [The book's editor is a longtime book reviewer in history for LJ.—Ed.]—Frederick J. Augustyn, Jr., Library of Congress

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823243457
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
Publication date:
08/14/2012
Series:
North's Civil War (FUP) Series
Pages:
164
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

RANDALL M. MILLER is Professor of History and holder of the William Dirk Warren Sesquicentennial Chair at Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia.

ALLEN C. GUELZO is the Henry R. Luce III Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College, where he serves as Director of the Civil War Era Studies Program.

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