Lincoln in American Memory / Edition 1

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Lincoln's death, like his life, was an event of epic proportions. When the president was struck down at his moment of triumph, writes Merrill Peterson, "sorrow—indescribable sorrow" swept the nation. After lying in state in Washington, Lincoln's body was carried by a special funeral train to Springfield, Illinois, stopping in major cities along the way; perhaps a million people viewed the remains as memorial orations rang out and the world chorused its praise. It was the apotheosis of the martyred president—the beginning of the transformation of a man into a mythic hero. In "Lincoln in American Memory," historian Merrill Peterson provides a fascinating history of Lincoln's place in American thought and imagination from the hour of his death to the present. In tracing the changing image of Lincoln through time, this wide-ranging account offers insight into the evolution and the struggles of American politics and society—and into the character of Lincoln himself.

Historian Peterson provides a fascinating history of Lincoln's place in the American thought and imagination from the hour of his death to the present. In tracing the changing image of Lincoln through time, this wide-ranging account offers insight into the evolution and struggles of American politics and society.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"It is a brilliant work. I shall praise it lavishly."--Norman Ferris, Middle Tennessee State University

"This volume makes for pleasant reading. Anyone interested in the subject of Abraham Lincoln will discover that this book belongs on his or her shelf of literature."--Lincoln Herald

"Here is a brilliant work, the product of a diligent, insightful mind. the style is pleasing, graced by felicitous phrases, and lucid. No other work is quite like it."--History

"Lincoln is a national treasure, and this book is worthy of him. Recommended."--Library Journal

"Peterson has done a superb job of telling us precisely what it is that Lincoln means to us and how that has come to be so. Among the thousands upon thousands of books that have been written about this greatest of all Americans, Lincoln in American Memory occupies a very high place."--Jonathan Yardley in the Washington Post

Library Journal
Historian Peterson ( The Great Triumvirate , LJ 8/87) provides a chronological history of Abraham Lincoln's place in the American imagination. Lincoln's achievements and the drama of his death make him a continuing subject of study for each generation. Concisely summarizing the field of Lincoln literature, from the time of his death to the present, Peterson offers his own analysis and explains why and how each generation tries to make Lincoln its own. Peterson details the five images of Lincoln: the savior of the Union, the great emancipator, man of the people, first American, and self-made man. Literature, art, and music are all covered in this review of Lincoln through the ages. Lincoln is a national treasure, and this book is worthy of him. Recommended for most libraries.-- Patricia Owens, Wabash Valley Coll., Mt. Carmel, Ill.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195096453
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 6.13 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author:
Merrill D. Peterson is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Virginia. His books include The Jefferson Image in the American Mind (winner of the Bancroft Prize), The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, Calhoun, and Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation.

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Table of Contents

1 Apotheosis 3
2 Shapings in the Postwar Years 36
Lincoln, Reconstruction, and the South 38
Book, Portraits, and Monuments 50
The Early Biographers: Herndon and Others 66
3 Filling Up the Image 82
The Flood of Reminiscence 83
Aspects of Character 97
First Culmination: Nicolay and Hay and Others 116
4 To the Afterwar Generation 141
Lincolniana: The Collectors and Ida Tarbell 144
The Political Lincoln 155
The Negroes' Lincoln 167
The Centennial 175
5 Themes and Variations 195
The International Lincoln 198
Temple and Icon 206
Religion 217
Ancestry 232
Controversies Old and New 243
6 From Memory to History 256
Organizing the Lincoln Enterprise 258
Second Culmination: Sandburg, Beveridge, and Others 271
The Minor Affair 291
The Historians' Lincoln 298
7 Zenith 311
"What Would Lincoln Do?" 314
Historians' Encounters 327
Civil Rights and Civil Religion 348
Lincoln at 150 362
8 Lincoln Everlasting 374
Notes 399
Acknowledgments 449
Index 451
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