In Lincoln's Hand: His Original Manuscripts with Commentary by Distinguished Americans

Harold Holzer, Author, Joshua Shenk, Author, Abraham Lincoln, Author Bantam $35 (208p) ISBN 978-0-553-80742-4
This illustrated volume, companion to the Library of Congress Bicentennial Exhibition, collects Lincolns' letters, speeches, pages from childhood notebooks, ruminations and reactions, including his inaugural addresses, his 1859 autobiographical sketch and his famous reply to a pre-Emancipation Proclamation editorial by New York Times founder Horace Greeley that excoriated Lincoln for not acting sooner to free the slaves: ""If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it."" Alongside these full-color reproductions and their transcripts, the editors run commentary from ""Distinguished Americans""-including E.L. Doctorow, Sandra Day O'Connor, Kathryn Harrison, Walter Mosley, William Safire, Stephen Spielberg, Toni Morrison, Conan O'Brien, John Updike, and four former Presidents-that are generally entertaining but vary in quality of insight (and occasionally in credibility-Bush II's contribution reads like it was cribbed from a textbook). A vibrant collector's item, this book should please any Lincoln aficionado, and makes an absorbing introduction for students and the historically curious.
Reviewed on: 01/26/2009
Release date: 01/01/2009
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