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We can see where he paused to dip his pen in the ink or to capture an idea. We can see where he added a word or phrase, and where he crossed out others, searching for the most precise, and concise, expression. In these marks on the page, Lincoln's character is available to us with a profound immediacy. From such icons as the Gettysburg Address and the inaugural speeches to seldom-seen but superb rarities, here is the world as Lincoln saw and shaped it in words and images that resound to this very day.

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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. May 23, SeaShore rated it it was amazing. This book consists of Lincoln's letters -photographs of the originals in his own handwriting followed by a type written version then an interpretation by a professional is a wonderful idea that can make a good reference book. I learned so much: Lincoln's accomplishments, his likes and dislikes; the way he read, studied and learned.

It is history written in an art form.

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For that, I grant 5 out of 5 rating and encourage others to read it. The author is known for Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depressio This book consists of Lincoln's letters -photographs of the originals in his own handwriting followed by a type written version then an interpretation by a professional is a wonderful idea that can make a good reference book. Mary Speed was the half sister of his closest friend, Joshua Fry Speed. Lincoln had encountered a group of shackled slaves in Ohio. Lincoln at the time was in Bloomington, Illinois. The slaves even though shackled made themselves contented having fun playing cards etc "God renders the worst of human conditions tolerable , while he permits the best to be nothing better than tolerable.

Doctorow wonders if Lincoln was consciously or subconsciously comparing their fate with his. He had also broken off the engagement to Mary Todd but turned around and asked her to marry him.

In Lincolns Hand His Original Manuscripts with Commentary by Distinguished Americans

A rough-hewn self-made man, he did his own manual labor on the prairie. Lacking formal education, he young Lincoln read voraciously. He tried his hand at poetry- Robert Pinsky compared his writing to William Blake In fact there was an ad by John Speed searching for a runaway slave. In September after a trip to Niagara Falls as he travelled home from Washington, he wrote a detailed journalling expressing his awe of the beauty and wonder of the Falls.

The Mammoth and Mastadon now so long dead that fragments of their monstrous bones, alone testify that they ever lived, have gazed on Niagara. In that long -long time, never still for a single moment. Never dried, never froze n , never slept, never rested. Feb 25, Melissa Vicente rated it it was amazing. An amazing peek behind the scenes of Lincoln. Some humorous, some series and others plan fascinating. A great book to read, learn and go back in time to discover how he was thinking and the moods he was in at certain points of making his history.

Aug 19, Doreen A. Cato rated it it was amazing. This book provided first-hand accounts of President Lincoln's thoughts, deeds, and desires. His very words continue to affect even today's history. In Lincoln's Hand, took a look at where Abraham Lincoln really stood when it came to slavery and how he governed.


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Mar 27, Keith rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: students of human nature. Shelves: history.

This is such a beautiful coffee table book that I was hesitant to highlight passages, although I very much wanted to mark favorite parts that jumped out at me. I did not venture to make any highlights until the last day of reading it. This book is not just original documents and their transcription; each document is accompanied by a commentary by a different author who selected that document for inclusion in this book.

Sometimes I read the transcription first; sometimes I read the commentary first. Occasionally I read the image of his writing. The pictures and reproductions gave another insight into the tenor of the times. Both of his inaugural addresses were typewritten and have additional changes that Lincoln wrote in. My curiosity caused me to look up when the typewriter was invented. So much for the idea that by reading 2 books a week I could whittle down my to-read list. Sigh, but I am enjoying the increased learning I get through reading more. So, although I am not excited that my to-read list continues to grow, yet my understanding is growing too, and I like that part.

Mar 10, David rated it it was amazing. This book is maybe the most interesting I've read in five years. It's just a collection of Lincoln's writings, photo-copies of his originals, with commentary and -- this is most helpful -- a typed version of what appears on the opposite page. Reading the second inaug in his handwriting, or the letters to friends, or his instructions to generals Let the thing be pressed is interesting in this way, above all: The man had penmanship worse than any doctor you'll ever meet.

If it wasn't for the typed This book is maybe the most interesting I've read in five years. If it wasn't for the typed version on the right page, much of the stuff on the left would make no sense. It's chicken scratch. For all his brilliance, for all the thought that he put into his words, he couldn't write them where anybody besides himself could read them. How funny. And I couldn't get over that the president of the United States wouldn't draft up a letter, and have a secretary copy it down in more readable handwriting. The man didn't even make rough drafts and re-write them himself.

All through his letters are cross-outs, edits, smudges and the like. A modern English teacher would faint. Jul 30, Manda rated it really liked it. As a art and literature person, I loved this book. It features the image of Lincoln's letter itself, the contents of it on the opposite page, and then commentary by a famous American writer, thinker, or politician. Even though e-mail and texting has taken over our lives, I still enjoy getting a good handwritten letter.

In Lincoln’s Hand

But what a difference a dash—a crossed-out-word—or a carat makes. Here one sees a master literary craftsman and professional persuader at work, in process, line by line, arduous as it was to write by hand in the midth century. But we had to excerpt some of these because their inclusion would have required the deletion of other works. Joshua Wolf Shenk : Harold describes the process well. Over many conversations, we drew up long lists of documents, and long lists of contributors, and then tried to match them.

In some cases, our contributors had a specific piece in mind. In other cases, we tried to find common themes. For lack of space, or for lack of the right match, we had to leave out hundreds of gems. Lincoln wrote him a note urging him to persevere. The Lincoln Bicentennial celebration is year long and vast.

As noted scholars, critically acclaimed authors, and prestigious award winners, what does this anniversary mean to you? Harold Holzer :The bicentennial has usefully stimulated a thorough reanalysis of Lincoln and his impact on our culture. Having worked on the Bicentennial Commission as its cochairman for eight years, it is also, from a personal perspective, the fulfillment of a dream to see so many symposia, exhibitions, books, plays, and other events scheduled in so many states throughout the year. But events, stamps, coins, and other accomplishments aside, the main point of the celebration was always to revive and permanently stimulate history education, where this country has fallen so short for so long.

The book and the exhibition it complements fit perfectly into this vision: because Lincoln was not only a great president but the greatest writer among our presidents. And it is an extraordinary thing to feel you are working with him, in-process, to create the words that have entered the American vocabulary so enduringly. That was the genesis of getting a variety of commentators. I hoped that we can find a way to talk about Lincoln not as an object of study—not as someone about whom we need to recycle old stories and facts—but as a living presence who touches a variety of minds and lives.

And the end is to look past him to what he stood for—and what he still stands for. You may do anything with me you choose, if you will but heed these sacred principles. You may not only defeat me for the Senate, but you may take me and put me to death. How is this apt? And what effect will this have on public awareness of this anniversary? And this would be true if the men had nothing in common, or if the points in common were only superficial.

He argues that loving a country means loving an idea that is unfulfilled — an idea that is there to be perfected. And so, in a sense, criticizing our country is an act of patriotism. What audacity there, what scope and ambition.

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Harold Holzer : The 44th President is one of the best advocates the 16th President has ever had. In your Introduction to the book, you talk about the thrill of seeing these documents firsthand, and noting especially that one—even distinguished scholars like yourself—is rarely left alone with the artifacts.


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  5. This creates a palpable sense of excitement. Which of the many documents you have seen firsthand most moved you, or provoked a notable response? Harold Holzer : Of course there is nothing like seeing the Gettysburg Address—in any of its five handwritten editions. That is like the Holy Grail. You can see at that emendation the separation of a first and second half of the piece, and a movement from declaring what he regards as the basic theological facts to entertaining the most radical questions. There are dozens of distinguished commentators who have contributed to this book.

    What were their reactions when you approached them to participate? How did you manage it? A few did string us along, complain they had projects of their own to attend to, or simply choked. But they were the exceptions, not the rule—rare exceptions. In addition to high-resolution scans of forty documents, many of them rarely displayed to the public, this book includes wonderful images to enhance its appeal. Where did they come from and was the selection process hard?

    Again, in your search, did anything take you by surprise? Why this for you? Joshua Wolf Shenk : My favorite line, I think, is from the fragment from around July , in which Lincoln is working out for himself his relationship to the struggle over slavery. It was just too prosaic and clunky. Are you working on a new project? Can you share its subject with readers?