The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery | Reviews in HistoryI suspect that, at some level, Eric Foner was always going to write this book. He openly acknowledges in The Fiery Trial that Lincoln has always loomed large in his research — even if he had not hitherto taken centre stage as subject — ever since he wrote his doctoral dissertation over four decades ago. Author or editor of more than 20 works on American history, Columbia's DeWitt Clinton Professor has long straddled the Civil War years with his pre-eminent Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men and Reconstruction , while he has traversed the period —5 many times with broader projects and longer narratives. Yet only now, in the wake of editing Our Lincoln , has Foner turned his full attention to the defining figure of that era. Perhaps that's a bit misleading, though, since The Fiery Trial , according to the author's own statement of purpose, 'is intended to be both less and more than another biography' p. Less, in that Foner has not tried to submit a rehashed or comprehensive life of Lincoln to what is, without hyperbole, the most crowded of historical fields. I should also add that this deliberate omission at no point sees him make straw men of others, and that it succeeds in keeping the narrative smooth and attractive to the popular market.
Mark recommends The Fiery Trial and Rites of Spring
Learning to Be Lincoln
Pierson, E ric F oner. New York: W. Norton and Company. This book takes on the tall task of finding something new to say about Abraham Lincoln and the interrelated topics of race and slavery. Happily, Eric Foner's deep historical knowledge and evenhanded assessments earn the book both credibility and power. I wish to address two parts of this statement.
Thank you! While many key events in the legendary career are examined—e. Douglas—other formerly unnoticed aspects appear in unexpected bold relief—e. Look elsewhere for an understanding of the president as person, but linger here for an indispensable analysis of Lincoln navigating through the treacherous political currents of his times. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again.
Norton, pp. As we begin a raft of sesquicentennials that will carry us through at least the next half-decade—the secession of Southern states, the formation of the Confederacy, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, Appomattox, and so on—I confess to feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation. These are all signal events in our history, the roadblocks and thoroughfares in the making of modern America, and at a time of general crisis they are especially important to revisit.
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