Monday, December 29, 2008

Looking at Looking for Lincoln

In the ongoing Frenzy of Lincoln Bicentennial publishing, by far the biggest and most visually satisfying offering this year to date would have to be Looking for Lincoln: The Making of an American Icon.  Requiring the services of what seems to be nearly the whole Kunhardt family, who, according to their fascinating preface, have been in the business of Lincoln collecting and writing for generations, this volume brings together a truly cornucopian selection of photos, contemporary quotations, and memorabilia.  

Unlike their earlier (and sadly out of print,) Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography, this weighty volume from the Kunhardts is concerned less with his life than with witness and what one might call the afterlife of Lincoln.  As a result, there is much new here for even the devoted reader of Lincoln biography and post-Civil War history; Lincoln's children, the later lives of his friends and coworkers, his place in our history and hearts.

Boasting an introduction by Doris Kearns Goodwin, the author of the (again) bestselling A Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and a forward by David Herbert Donald, the author of the best contemporary, one volume biography, titled simply Lincoln, this new book is a treasure trove of excellent scholarship, sound writing, and fascinating side-lights to the Lincoln story. 

At $50.00, this is not an inexpensive book, but it is a beautiful addition to any Lincoln library.

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