Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln

Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln

by Don Fehrenbacher
     
 

This is the first comprehensive collection of remarks attributed to Abraham Lincoln by his contemporaries. Much of what is known or believed about the man comes from such utterances, which have been an important part of Lincoln biography. About his mother, for instance, he never wrote anything beyond supplying a few routine facts, but he can be quoted as stating

Overview

This is the first comprehensive collection of remarks attributed to Abraham Lincoln by his contemporaries. Much of what is known or believed about the man comes from such utterances, which have been an important part of Lincoln biography. About his mother, for instance, he never wrote anything beyond supplying a few routine facts, but he can be quoted as stating orally that she was the illegitimate daughter of a Virginia aristocrat. Similarly, there is no mention of Ann Rutledge in any of his writings, but he can be quoted as saying when he was president-elect, “I did honestly and truly love the girl and think often, often of her now.”

Did Lincoln make a conditional offer to evacuate Fort Sumter in April 1861? Did he personally make the decision to restore General McClellan to army command in September 1862? To whom did he first reveal his intention to issue an emancipation proclamation? Did he label the Gettysburg address a failure right after delivering it? Did he, just a few days before his assassination, dream of a president lying dead in the White House? All of these questions, and many others, arise from recollective quotations of Lincoln, and the answer in each instance depends upon how one appraises the reliability of such recollection.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Fehrenbachers have sifted through countless recollective writings in order to document, classify, and evaluate some 1,900 quotations of Lincoln by more than 500 people. This awesome task was well worth the effort, for we now have a comprehensive and trustworthy guide of incalculable value to all students of Lincoln."—James M. McPherson, Princeton University, The Atlantic Monthly

"From its elegantly written and sensibly reasoned introduction to its rich trove of recollected remarks of Lincoln, this is the most important archival work on Lincoln since the publication of the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln some forty years ago."—Mark E. Neely, Jr., Saint Louis University

Library Journal
In the late 19th century, the good Parsia tiny elite of 40,000 living in Bombayembraced charity, truthfulness, racial purity, progressive attitudes, and British cultural values. In this anthropological study, Luhrmann (anthropology, Univ. of California, San Diego) traces the Parsi origins in Persia, their adherence to Zoroastrianism, and their rise to social and cultural prominence under British colonial rule. By the 1920s and 1930s, however, the good Parsi had entered a stage of severe self-criticism after sensing the loss of moral integrity, manliness, and genetic strength. Luhrmann concludes that the growing weakness was due to excessive intermarriage and extensive Parsi charity, which destroyed the inner drive to succeed. In consequence came the rise of the crisis of personal identity in a postcolonial world. Luhrmann has produced a superb analysis of Parsi history, anthropology, and psychology. For academic collections.John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant
Gilbert Taylor
Respected editors of Lincolniana present the verifiable sayings of Lincoln outside of his writings and speeches. Most excerpts were put to paper soon after the conversation, and hence they are more reliable than the effusion of remembered conversations inspired by the shock of the assassination. Yet the latter category can ring truthfully, and the Fehrenbachers clearly explain the historiographical bases (such as double sourcing or internal consistency) that the expert researcher would use to evaluate any particular statement. The amateur browser, too, will find this to be an informative volume of how Lincoln was perceived by contemporaries; especially, given his virtual apotheosis, the hostility with which many--not just rebels--regarded him. Lincoln's chats as remembered by his supporters lend fascinating insight into his political acumen. There are many hooks on which readers can hang their particular curiosities (such as the origin of the story about sending Grant's whiskey to Union generals), so that this scholarly edition, though expensive, should find an appreciative reader in most libraries.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804726368
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
Publication date:
11/28/1996
Edition description:
1
Pages:
648
Sales rank:
1,006,142
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.59(h) x 1.84(d)

Meet the Author

Don E. Fehrenbacher is William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies Emeritus at Stanford University. Among his many Lincoln publications is a two-volume edition of Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings for the Library of America. Virginia Fehrenbacher is a retired public school teacher.

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