John C. Waugh, a newspaper journalist turned historical reporter, was long a staff correspondent and bureau chief for the Christian Science Monitor. He lives in Texas.
Reelecting Lincoln: The Battle For The 1864 Presidencyby John Waugh
Here, from the author of the acclaimed book The Class of 1846, is the dramatic story of what may have been the most critical election campaign in American history. Taking place in the midst of the Civil War, the election of 1864 would determine the very future of the nation. Would the country be unified or permanently divided? Would slavery continue?/i>
Here, from the author of the acclaimed book The Class of 1846, is the dramatic story of what may have been the most critical election campaign in American history. Taking place in the midst of the Civil War, the election of 1864 would determine the very future of the nation. Would the country be unified or permanently divided? Would slavery continue? Weaving rich anecdotal material into a fast-paced narrative, John C. Waugh places this pivotal election in its historical context while evoking its human drama. The men and women who figured in this epic campaignmost notably Lincoln himselfemerge with all their strengths, weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies. "It's an inherently dramatic story, and one that has been told before. But never quite so well as by John C. Waugh, [who] brings to his task the keen eye for detail and scene-setting that one would expect from a career reporter," said the Wall Street Journal. Drawing on an extensive array of sources, including published and unpublished reminiscences, memoirs, autobiographies, letters, newspapers, and periodicals, Waugh re-creates that fateful year with all the immediacy of a political reporter covering a national presidential election today.
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Good book with lots of detail. The information about Salmon Chase could have used a little more organization and detail. Other than that, a top-notch book that will be enjoyed by readers of history and politics.
John Waugh's book is a great insight into Lincoln's re-election bid in 1864. The book is replete with examples of Lincoln's astuteness as a politician. Although, Lincoln was a self-made commander in chief with no real military experience, he was very able. Lincoln envisioned, before his generals, that the war would be protracted. He came to mistrust many of his top generals; they were not aggressive enough for him. The conduct of the war is starting to wear on the morale at home. This causes a split in the fledgling Republican Party. The Abolitionist thought that Lincoln was too soft on eradicating slavery, but they couldn't get a candidate of their liking chosen at convention. The anti-war wing of the party believed that Lincoln was bleeding the country dry; they abhorred the human and economic suffering. Lincoln was able to out maneuver both factions and win re-nomination. He then had to prepare to run against General McClellan, the Democratic Party's nominee, who he had fired for not aggressively prosecuting the war. The Democrats had selected McClellan on an anti war platform. Much to their chagrin McClellan ignores the party platform and runs as a pro-war candidate. This reversal is the first time in presidential political history that a candidate runs counter to the party platform. Despite McClellan's reversal the election is looking dire for Lincoln in August. Although Grant, the new general, is at least pursuing Lee's army, the war isn't moving fast enough. Many people in the North are looking to a decisive field victory to show that the war is at least coming to an end. All the doom and gloom in the White House comes to an end in September when General Sherman burns Atlanta. Lincoln can show the nation that the end is finally in sight. Lincoln very adroitly allows military units, especially from New York to travel home to vote. This shrewd political tactic garners Lincoln 7 out of 10 military votes. He winds up winning the election with 55% of the vote and a large portion of the Electoral College. Waugh who is a journalist by trade writes in a style reminiscent of the great newspaper editors of Lincoln's day. He uses many of the articles as background information for the book. This was a very interesting book, which illuminates Lincoln's adroitness as a politician. Highly recommended.
The author does an excellent job of describing not only the political landscape of the 1864 election, but also the military situation as well. He does a remarkable job of making the political figures of the time come alive. The book is well written and enjoyable also. A must read book for fans and scholars of Lincoln.