Lincoln and the Civil War

Overview


In Lincoln and the Civil War, Michael Burlingame explores the experiences and qualities that made Abraham Lincoln one of America’s most revered leaders. This volume provides an illuminating overview of the entirety of the Civil War and Lincoln’s administration, focusing on the ways in which Lincoln’s unique combination of psychological maturity, steely determination, and political wisdom made him the North’s secret weapon that ultimately led to supremacy over the ...
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Overview


In Lincoln and the Civil War, Michael Burlingame explores the experiences and qualities that made Abraham Lincoln one of America’s most revered leaders. This volume provides an illuminating overview of the entirety of the Civil War and Lincoln’s administration, focusing on the ways in which Lincoln’s unique combination of psychological maturity, steely determination, and political wisdom made him the North’s secret weapon that ultimately led to supremacy over the Confederacy. 

When war erupted in 1861, the North—despite its superior economic resources and manpower—was considered the underdog of the conflict. The need to invade the South brought no advantage to the inefficient, poorly led Union Army. In contrast, Southerners’ knowledge of their home terrain, access to railroads, familiarity with firearms, and outdoor lifestyles, along with the presumed support of foreign nations, made victory over the North seem a likely outcome. In the face of such daunting obstacles, only one person could unite disparate Northerners and rally them to victory in the darkest moments of the war: Abraham Lincoln. 

While Lincoln is often remembered today as one of America’s wisest presidents, he was not always considered so sage. Burlingame demonstrates how, long before the rigors of his presidency and the Civil War began to affect him, Lincoln wrestled with the demons of midlife to ultimately emerge as arguably the most self-aware, humble, and confident leader in American history. This metamorphosis from sarcastic young politician to profound statesman uniquely prepared him for the selfless dedication the war years would demand. Whereas his counterpart, Jefferson Davis, became mired in personal power plays, perceived slights, and dramas, Lincoln rose above personal concerns to always place the preservation of the Union first. Lincoln’s ability, along with his eloquence, political savvy, and grasp of military strategy made him a formidable leader whose honesty and wisdom inspired undying loyalty. 

In addition to offering fresh perspectives on Lincoln’s complex personality and on the other luminaries of his administration, Lincoln and the Civil War takes readers on a brief but thorough tour of the war itself, from the motivations and events leading to Southern secession and the first shots at Fort Sumter to plans for Reconstruction and Lincoln’s tragic assassination. Throughout the journey, Burlingame demonstrates how Lincoln’s steady hand at the helm navigated the Union through the most perilous events of the war and held together the pieces of an unraveling nation.

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Editorial Reviews

The Midwest Book Review

Abraham Lincoln was a pivotal figure in 19th Century American history. Adding to the growing library of Lincoln Studies are four volumes newly published by the Southern Illinois University Press..."Lincoln and the Civil War" (9780809330539, $19.95, 160 pages) by Michael Burlingame examines the role of Abraham Lincoln and his administration during the years of the bloodiest conflict our nation has ever known...Each of these informed and informative titles is a welcome and highly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Lincoln Studies and 19th Century American History collections." --James A. Cox

— James A. Cox

Civil War News

 Both of these titles are part of a the new Concise Lincoln Library series. They are similar in format, short, moderately priced and able to fit in a jacket pocket or small purse for easy travel reading. They are well edited, have none of the usual typos, and waste no space with “filler” dialogue. 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

From the Publisher

"Because it is short, cogent, accessible, and important, this book probably deserves a place in every college-level Civil War course."
—Stewart Winger in The Journal of Southern History

"Knowing Abraham Lincoln is impossible and studying him is like trying to sip from the 'Fountain of Liberty' or make tea from the Constitution--he is not for the faint of heart. But reading SIU Press's Concise Lincoln Library offers something for every thirst. Deep drinkers and first-time students of the Civil War and Lincoln studies will come back for more, and this series will more than fill the glass." 
—William Furry, executive director, Illinois State Historical Society

"The author of the most deeply-researched and detailed biography of Abraham Lincoln ever written here provides a remarkably concise and authoritative overview of the Civil War.  Drawing on his massive research, Burlingame selects anecdotes and details  that effectively illustrate Lincoln's critical role."—Douglas L. Wilson, Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College

“With a brisk pace and bracing tone, Michael Burlingame assays the titanic clash of the Civil War and the man whose personality and resolve guided the Union to victory. Those who already know Abraham Lincoln will find him alive on these pages. Those whose acquaintance with him is marginal will gain a full sense of the man and his destiny.”—David S. Heidler, coauthor of Henry Clay: The Essential American

“The idea that Abraham Lincoln was an essential element in Union victory is hardly a new one, but never before has the case been made so forcefully, or at such length, as it is in Michael Burlingame’s Lincoln and the Civil War. Critics may quibble that the North could have won without him, but as Burlingame demonstrates conclusively, it could not have won in the way that it did without his stewardship. Lincoln’s leadership was just as decisive off the battlefield as it was on, and his role in keeping the courage and determination of the Northern people up to the task is especially well detailed. We have many books on Lincoln that really never needed to be written. This is one that did.”—William C. Davis, Director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech

“Masterful! Michael Burlingame offers a portrait of Lincoln in the Civil War that is at once wide angle and zoom lens in scope. He portrays the complex issues Lincoln faced and allows us to go behind the scenes to grasp the manifold dimensions of his leadership. Burlingame’s reputation for meticulous scholarship is presented here in an accessible study just in time for the sesquicentennial remembrances of the Civil War.”—Ronald C. White Jr. author of A. Lincoln: A Biography

"Burlingame shows remarkable skill in discussing complex subjects quickly and in effectively transitioning to the next subject.  The advantage of this approach is that the end result is a stripped-down Lincoln and the Civil War. Burlingame’s volume thus retains only the core part of the argument, with everything that could be considered superfluous removed. This makes Lincoln and the Civil War a perfect book for not only classroom use, but also for those who are looking for a brief introduction to the issues of the war and Lincoln’s leadership. The work is ideal as a one-volume study of Lincoln that covers the basics."--Dr. Lewie Reece, Anderson University  

The Midwest Book Review - James A. Cox

120 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Abraham Lincoln was a pivotal figure in 19th Century American history. Adding to the growing library of Lincoln Studies are four volumes newly published by the Southern Illinois University Press... 120 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE "Lincoln and the Civil War" (9780809330539, $19.95, 160 pages) by Michael Burlingame examines the role of Abraham Lincoln and his administration during the years of the bloodiest conflict our nation has ever known... 120 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Each of these informed and informative titles is a welcome and highly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Lincoln Studies and 19th Century American History collections." --James A. Cox
Civil War News - Joseph A. Truglio

Both of these titles are part of a the new Concise Lincoln Library series. They are similar in format, short, moderately priced and able to fit in a jacket pocket or small purse for easy travel reading. They are well edited, have none of the usual typos, and waste no space with “filler” dialogue.

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.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809330539
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 8/23/2011
  • Series: Concise Lincoln Library
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 316,030
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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