Given the context within which it was set, no other presidential election had such high stakes as that of 1860. With the nation teetering on the brink of dissolution, the election of a new president had the potential to maintain or end the Federal Union and spark a civil war. Thus, Americans went to the polls with the realization that their votes could set in motion forces of unbelievable power. In the end, Abraham Lincoln was elected, and the secession of southern states did lead to the brutal and bloody Civil War. However, after great travail, the Republic did stand together and slavery, the root cause of the division, did cease. In this volume of Arthur Schlesinger's "Major Presidential Elections and the Administrations that Followed" series, readers will receive a general overview of this tempestuous election. Additionally, editor Schlesinger has compiled a series of primary source documents that include key Lincoln papers as well as other contemporaneous writings. Taken as a whole this book could be used as a research text for a younger reader interested in this topic. However, the overall flow of this book is uneven. The introductory essay describing the election of 1860 covers the material but without offering any real life. The resource documents are substantial but appear to be a random series of texts rather than a cohesive offering. While there is some meat to this book, it lacks the cohesion necessary to make it worthwhile. 2003, Mason Crest Publishers, Romaneck
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Each of these well-organized titles begins with an introduction by Schlesinger describing the electoral process and how it has changed over time. The first chapter presents an overview of the issues in each election and the candidates. Pivotal campaign (and other) speeches and party platforms are included, along with a "Facts at a Glance" section about the winning candidate, his vice president and cabinet, notable events during the administration, and a map of the election results. Later chapters include inaugural addresses, presidential speeches and letters, and important events in the administration. Further reading suggestions are broken down into general reference, political Americana, and specific titles about the president. While Russell Freedman's Lincoln: A Photobiography (Clarion, 1987) gives a more complete picture of the man and his presidency, there is much that report writers will appreciate in these thorough and attractive volumes.-Ann Joslin, Erie County Public Library, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.