Why Another Book on Lincoln?

Today is the release date of my latest book, The Problem with Lincoln (Regnery).  When I start doing radio interviews (first one this morning), an obvious question will be why I wrote another one, after The Real Lincoln was published in 2002.

There are (at least) three parts to the answer:  First, on page 132 of The Problem with Lincoln I quote historian Ira Cardiff, author of The Deification of Lincoln (1943) as concluding that “Americans are not at all interested in the truth about Lincoln . . . .  They desire a supernatural Lincoln, a Lincoln with none of the faults or frailties of the common man . . . a biography of Lincoln which told the truth about him would probably have great difficulty finding a publisher.”  That was written in 1943.

Since the Lincoln myth is the ideological cornerstone of the American state, the foundation of its “treasury of virtue,” as Robert Penn Warren called it in The Legacy of the Civil War, it’s important that at least some Americans are not deluded by fantasies, myths, and superstitions about their own government.

Second, according to one account, more than 16,000 hagiographies have been published about Lincoln over the generations which is obviously why, as Ira Cardiff said, most Americans believe in a “supernatural” Lincoln (and by implication, a supernatural government in Washington).  In the interest of offering Americans a fair and balanced view of their own history, I believe that two or three books on Lincoln that seek the truth about American history and attempt to portray the man as the cunning and conniving politician that he was, as opposed to the secular saint that he was made out to be by the Republican Party propaganda machine, is warranted.  (It is not at all unusual for academic “Lincoln scholars” to write numerous books about different aspects of their subject, by the way).

Third, there has been some very good and interesting research on Lincoln and his war published over the past eighteen years that I utilize in The Problem with Lincoln.  Writing another book after eighteen years of additional research, reading, writing, and debating the subject makes this a very different book.

For those of you who pick up the book, please feel free to let the Amazon.com comment section know what you think of it.



9:59 am on July 7, 2020