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Lincoln As I Knew Him

Over the past decade, historians have gained a new respect for the value of oral history and reminiscence. For generations serious scholars had discounted this type of historical data as being too easily flawed. It is the very nature of reminiscence that it is history being perceived by individuals, and is therefore susceptible to the human traits of bias, misconception, and utter falsification. (Harold Holzer) However, work being done by modern scholars has shown that used carefully and selectively, many historical facts and incidents can be divined from these sources.

The editor Harold Holzer, Guest Scholar, is Vice President for Communications at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and author, co-author, and editor of eighteen books on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War, including The Confederate Image (1987). In addition to many books, Harold has written some 290 articles for both popular magazines and scholarly journals. A number of books have appeared recently that states reminiscences, recollections, and personal remembrances of Abraham Lincoln.

Many individuals who personally nteracted with Lincoln left behind records of their experiences in publications of all sorts. In Lincoln as I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes & Revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies, Harold Holzer has searched a number of these sources to paint a unique and entertaining portrait of our 16th President. Holzer presents his selections by group rather than topically or chronologically. For instance, the first chapter contains reminiscences from family members; other chapters come from fellow lawyers, foreign observers, authors, artists, and African-Americans.

Harold Holzer does an excellent job in selecting reminiscences and recollections from many different, and often somewhat obscure sources. Personal journals and diaries, periodicals and newspapers, and little used compilations of reminiscences all served as sources. Holzer introduces each chapter, and prefaces each individual reminiscence. The Lincoln that comes from Holzer’s book is a man who had a natural curiosity and was eager to learn from a variety of sources but especially from reading. It has long been recognized that Lincoln was a self-taught man.

Given this, Holzer strives to show that this was a life-long process, and that reading more helped make Lincoln who he was. Over all I think Harold Holzer did an excellent job on editing this book, I think it put it together very nicely. Lincoln As I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes & Revelations from his best friends and worst enemies was very interesting. The different stories about Lincoln were very interesting and I liked that more than just having just the authors perspective. Another thing I liked about this book is that the information was written in a ery nice way it wasnt hard to understand at all.

Lincoln As I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes & Revelations from his best friends and worst enemies also had some bad qualities, for instance some of the information was gossip and you werent sure if what you were reading was true or not. Another thing about the book is how it took a while for you catch on to what some of the writers were trying to put across, but for the most part it was easy reading. In Lincoln As I Knew Him we learn this and much more about an extraordinary man who made a lasting impression on everyone who met him.

From the famous–Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Ulysses S. Grant–to the not-so-famous–White House secretaries, artists, bodyguards, childhood pals, and rejected fiances–this collection provides an insider’s look at the man. The result is a folksy, revealing, and, at times, contradictory view of the President. I found the book to be very informant of the ups and downs of Abraham Lincolns life. It showed that throughout it all a president as a lot to deal with and is like me and you. I liked the book very much.

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