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188CIVIL WAR HISTORY tive and useful. As the chief editor, he should not have been the one to allow the information in his essay to overlap a bit with that in the preceding essay. The captions are so written (again in keeping with previous practice in the series) as to form a sort of narrative on their own, with the material in one caption sometimes completing the thought or sentence in the preceding caption. This practice puts a premium on readability but occasionally sacrifices close comment on the details of an individual photograph . The startling picture of the jury that would have tried Jefferson Davis for treason, for example, fails to mention that over half the men were black (a fact noted and celebrated in contemporary captions of the photograph) . I have reviewed all the volumes of this series and have saved my more negative comments for this final review. By now, buyers are surely committed to the whole series, and nothing said in a review will (if it ever would) prevent purchase. These books merit broad distribution. Davis has achieved much in producing the books, and the complaints here should be weighed against the praise in the other five reviews. From the extremely rare picture of a political campaign bandwagon in Reconstruction Louisiana to the haunting photographs of leatheraproned workmen with wrenches and mauls outside Washington's government repair shops, The End of an Era presents the reader with interesting and unusual photographs. All six of Davis's books have done this, and that is quite an achievement. Mark E. Neely, Jr. Louis A. Warren Lincoln Library and Museum Speaking ofAbraham Lincoln: The Man and His Meaningfor Our Times. By Richard Nelson Current. (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1983. Pp. 196. $17.50.) Richard Current's historical writing is always a pleasure to read, and this volume is no exception. It is not a new Lincoln monograph but the reprinting—in some cases the first printing—of eleven talks focused on Lincoln themes. The author of four books on Lincoln, Professor Current is frequently asked to speak on what must be America's favorite historical personage. It is our good fortune that he has now collected these talks, given over a period from 1955 to 1982, in a small book rich in scholarly summaries, anecdotes, and historical insight. The talks cover such topics as "Lincoln and Daniel Webster," "Confederates and the First Shot," "Lincoln the Southerner," and "Bancroft's Lincoln." The chapters were originally papers delivered at scholarly meetings or prepared for college lecture series, and one was a commencement address. The information, for the most part, will be familiar to professional historians, yet Current's vast knowledge of Lincoln and his BOOK REVIEWS189 times enables him to provide new insights and interpretations from which all of us can profit. In his preface Current summarizes his collection of essays, saying he hopes that through them Lincoln will have something to say to the reader by reviewing the uses various groups have made of his name, by correcting the story where it is inconsistent with historical evidence, and by attempting to show the continuing relevance of Lincoln for our time. This, then, is the history of ideas in the best sense of the term, written in traditional narrative style and eminently readable. Current's view of Lincoln is definitely positive. Although he is careful to mention his very human frailities, the overall interpretation is one of a "Great Man" who symbolizes the best of the American Spirit. In comparison with Webster or Thaddeus Stevens, Lincoln is favored, though Current is always fair in giving credit to the others and their contributions to our heritage. In "Through India with Abraham Lincoln," Current even compares Lincoln favorably with Gandhi. Although the Indians he spoke with praised Gandhi's use of nonviolence, one of them pointed out that if India had had a Lincoln there might have been violent rebellion but there would not have been partition or a separate state of Pakistan. This illustrates the problem in attempting such an analogy. Gandhi deplored partition but was in no position to prevent it. And Lincoln did not have to confront both...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 188-189
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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