Lincoln As I Knew Him Essay Research

Lincoln As I Knew Him Essay, Research Paper

Lincoln As I Knew Him

Over the past decade, historians have gained a new respect for the value of


history and reminiscence. ?For generations serious scholars had discounted

this type of

historical data as being too easily flawed. It is the very nature of

reminiscence that it is

history being perceived by individuals, and is therefore susceptible to the

human traits of

bias, misconception, and utter falsification.? (Harold Holzer) However,

work being done

by modern scholars has shown that used carefully and selectively, many

historical facts and

incidents can be divined from these sources. The editor Harold Holzer, Guest

Scholar, is

Vice President for Communications at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and


co-author, and editor of eighteen books on Abraham Lincoln and the political

culture of

the Civil War, including The Confederate Image (1987). In addition to many


Harold has written some 290 articles for both popular magazines and scholarly


A number of books have appeared recently that states reminiscences,


and personal remembrances of Abraham Lincoln. Many individuals who personally

interacted with Lincoln left behind records of their experiences in

publications of all sorts.

In Lincoln as I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes & Revelations from His Best

Friends and

Worst Enemies, Harold Holzer has searched a number of these sources to paint

a unique

and entertaining portrait of our 16th President. Holzer presents his

selections by group

rather than topically or chronologically. For instance, the first chapter


reminiscences from family members; other chapters come from fellow lawyers,


observers, authors, artists, and African-Americans.

Harold Holzer does an excellent job in selecting reminiscences and


from many different, and often somewhat obscure sources. Personal journals

and diaries,

periodicals and newspapers, and little used compilations of reminiscences all

served as

sources. Holzer introduces each chapter, and prefaces each individual

reminiscence. The

Lincoln that comes from Holzer’s book is a man who had a natural curiosity

and was eager

to learn from a variety of sources but especially from reading. It has long

been recognized

that Lincoln was a self-taught man. Given this, Holzer strives to show that

this was a

life-long process, and that reading more helped make Lincoln who he was.

Over all I think Harold Holzer did an excellent job on editing this book, I

think it

put it together very nicely. Lincoln As I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes &

Revelations from

his best friends and worst enemies was very interesting. The different

stories about

Lincoln were very interesting and I liked that more than just having just the


perspective. Another thing I liked about this book is that the information

was written in a

very nice way it wasn?t hard to understand at all. Lincoln As I Knew Him:


Tributes & Revelations from his best friends and worst enemies also had

some bad

qualities, for instance some of the information was gossip and you weren?t

sure if what

you were reading was true or not. Another thing about the book is how it took

a while for

you catch on to what some of the writer?s were trying to put across, but

for the most part

it was easy reading.

In Lincoln As I Knew Him we learn this and much more about an extraordinary

man who made a lasting impression on everyone who met him. From the

famous–Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass,

Ulysses S.

Grant–to the not-so-famous–White House secretaries, artists, bodyguards,


pals, and rejected fianc?es–this collection provides an insider’s look at

the man. The result

is a folksy, revealing, and, at times, contradictory view of the President. I

found the book

to be very informant of the ups and downs of Abraham Lincoln?s life. It

showed that

throughout it all a president as a lot to deal with and is like me and you. I

liked the book

very much.


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