Sunday, October 7, 2012

1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History By: Charles Bracelen Flood

Another Lincoln book under my belt. 

Year, 1864.  The subject? Abraham Lincoln, the civil war and the re-election of the grate [sic] emancipator.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a Lincoln lover however I am an avid reader of, and very interested in, Mr. Lincoln, his life, his decisions and lack thereof. With that being said, I enjoyed this book.

Not much was gleaned from this book that is earth shattering, however there are tidbits of information that will whet your appetite for more.  Lincoln being the the person most written about coming in at a whopping 15,000 books and counting, it is hard to find new information.  However this book was a little different in that there was not  much about the assassination hence the name, 1864.  Obviously the author elaborated a bit and added some information prior to 1864 which I felt was necessary.

The author touched on Lincoln's interaction with the people as well as his cabinet and the central government in general.  Some information was elaborated on such as Marie Lincoln's shopping sprees where other authors had just skimmed the surface.  I for one had not read about the possibilities of her infidelity or the "possible" homosexual relationship with Mr. David Dereckson. 

Flood also described the tension Mr. Lincoln felt regarding the possible run for president by Ulysses S. Grant as well as the subsequent battle with George McClellan for the presidency. The book is not exclusively about Lincoln as Flood covers other events of 1864 and the respective subjects such as Salmon P. Chase & Edwin M. Stanton to name a few.

Although I do not believe the author to be a "Lincoln Lover" such as those that choose to overlook his indiscretions and down-right unconstitutionality in his actions, there is an attempt to paint Lincoln as the kind, always available politician with a good sense of humor.  Anyone that has done any kind of research on our 16th President knows that he was not the poor rail splitter, he was essentially a lobbyist and a shrewd attorney.  Decisions he made and liberties he took based on the position he held were at times extremely tyrannical.

The author also touches on the Lincoln's henchman, Sherman and the destruction he left in his wake, yet was lauded for his "taking of Atlanta".  In one chapter, Lincoln sends a message to Sherman basically telling him to speed up the process, never admonishing him for killing innocent women and children, robbing and pillaging, and burning private citizen's home who had nothing to do with the war save for living in the South.    

Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416552294

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