Daily Archives: February 14, 2010

In Lincoln book news

I was quite pleased (but not at all surprised) to hear that Michael Burlingame will receive the Lincoln Prize for his two-volume biography.  This was an award that was very much deserved. 

I think it’s going to be interesting to trace this book’s trajectory in the coming years.  Scholars seem to have accepted it as the definitive bio for this generation, and I have no doubt that it is.  Still, I wonder if its heft and price tag will intimidate interested readers.  Unless a trade publisher brings out a paperback edition, David Donald’s one-volume work may remain the go-to life of Lincoln for those who simply want to get to know the man.

Speaking of Lincoln books, check out this item from the Abraham Lincoln Observer (a blog you should be reading regularly if you aren’t already).  Apparently Bill O’ Reilly is working on an assassination book which offers “startling new information.”  His co-author is a sportswriter with far too much time on his hands.

ALO speculates that it might have something to do with the pages torn from Booth’s memorandum book, the same memorandum book from which Booth himself tore pages to be used as notes.  It doesn’t need explaining.

So not only will we be subjected to another conspiratorial history book, but one probably based on a non-issue and written by non-historians.  The last time this happened, a chemist tried to convince us that one of Lincoln’s own cabinet members orchestrated his murder.  We need another Lincoln conspiracy book like we need another teenage vampire movie.

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Filed under Abraham Lincoln, Historiography