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The Annals of Iowa
"In the preface of Lincoln Looks West, editor Richard Etulain writes, "This volume attempts what no other book has done. . . This book introduces readers to the two decades of Lincoln's major involvements with the West" (ix). That mission is accomplished. In an introductory essay Etulain presents an extensive overview of Lincoln and the trans-Mississippi West. Seven of the subsequent essays are reprints from a variety of historical journals and cover a wide range of topics. Mark E. Neely (Civil War History, 1978) explores Lincoln's opposition to the Mexican War. Earl S. Pomeroy (Pacific Historical Review, 1943), Vincent G. Tegeder (Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 1948), Daren Earl Kellogg (New Mexico Historical Review, 2000), and Robert W. Johannsen (Washington Comes of Age: The State in the National Experience, 1992) delve into Lincoln's patronage appointments in the West. Larry Sdiweikart (Western Humanities Review, 1980) investigates Lincoln's connections to the Mormons, and David A. Nichols (The Historian's Lincoln: Pseudohistory, Psychohistory, and History, 1988) writes about his study of Lincoln and the Indians. Two new essays were written specifically for this volume: Michael G. Green surveys the politics of the 1850s and Lincoln's attitudes toward the West during those years; and Paul M. Zall presents a biographical sketch of Lincoln's friend Anson G. Henry, a physician and politician whom Zall describes as "Lincoln's Junkyard Dog." The book concludes with a bibliographical essay by Etulain and a bibliography of significant books and articles about Lincoln and the West.
This compilation of essays provides a wide range of topics, brings together a plethora of research, and demonstrates that the West was never far from Lincoln's mind, although during his presidency the war took his full attention. For those readers not well acquainted with Lincoln and the West, this volume is a great place to start and to discover that there really was a lot happening west of the Mississippi River during and even before the Civil War. " --Patricia Ann Owens
— Patricia Ann Owens