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humanities 221 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Nelson claims that he writes >not to charm but to inform,= but in the end he does both. His journals are culturally literate, readable, and engaging, and many passages benefit from being read aloud. Nelson=s descriptions of some fur traders= attempt to replicate a Native >conjuring= ceremony, the castration of an abusive Ojibwa man by the women of his community, and the compelling tale of the haunting of Nelson=s post on the Chippewa River are tales deserving of speedy anthologization. Nelson is an acute observer of society, fascinated by the ways of the Native peoples among whom he lives, and finely attuned to the politics of the fur trade, with its patron-client relationships, family ties, jealousies, hatreds, and rampant gossip. Peers and Schenck are to be commended for their fine and careful editorial work, which is a model of how these kinds of documents ought to be presented. The editors provide a full bibliographic description of the manuscripts and an account of editorial decisions made, and the edition is supported by excellent historical contextualization and helpful annotations and biographical sketches. The presentation of the 1836 journal ruptures the coherence of that text, but this loss is compensated for by the effective juxtaposition of multiple accounts of certain events. (BILL MOREAU) Christopher A. Thomas. The Lincoln Memorial and American Life Princeton University Press. xxxii, 214. US $35.00 The Civil War had barely ended, and Lincoln just recently buried, when the Radical Reconstructionists of the Fortieth Congress sought to memorialize Lincoln through a national monument. As Christopher A. Thomas demonstrates in this cogently written study, it took Lincoln boosters fiftyfive years, from 1867 to 1922, to dedicate a national memorial to Lincoln=s ambiguous legacy. The core of this first extensive investigation of the memorial is Thomas=s detailed discussion of the monument and its architect, Henry Bacon. Bacon refined his early interest in Greek and Roman architecture through six years of work for McKim, Mead and White, for whom he applied classical vocabularies to modern building designs in the 1890s. Thomas focuses on Bacon and the memorial=s architecture, leaving a discussion of Daniel Chester French=s sculpture and Jules Guèrin=s murals, as well as the memorial=s landscaping (including reflecting pool), to other scholars. Most of the book concerns the planning, design, and construction of the memorial, a period that spans from 1901, when the memorial was proposed as part of the larger McMillan Plan for Washington, through 1922, when the building of the memorial was finally complete. Thomas=s strength is in describing not only the memorial=s design and construction, but also in situating the design and approval process in the complex climate of Washington political manoeuvring. In one of the book=s more persuasive analyses, Thomas demonstrates how the memorial became a site of political 222 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 contestation between an older, congressionally centred Democratic party and the Republican party of Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, which featured a new emphasis on a centralized federal government led by a powerful president. The first and last chapters historicize the memorial more broadly in >American life.= Here Thomas adds to recent studies of both Lincoln and memorial architecture, such as Kirk Savage=s important Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves (1997). Thomas cogently argues that in the ongoing debate over Lincoln=s legacy (Lincoln as emancipator of the slaves, or Lincoln as saviour of the Union?), the memorial was >built to celebrate and foster consensus and reconciliation.= Over time, what had begun as a decidedly partisan monument to a Northern president was transformed into an icon of >universal= American ideals that knitted together North and South. Finally, in the civil rights era of the mid-twentieth century, activists such as Marian Anderson and the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington reappropriated Lincoln=s long-buried legacy as Emancipator by using the monument as a site of vernacular civic ritual. Although Thomas does suggest that Lincoln=s legacy as >Savior of the Union= was a political compromise that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 221-222
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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