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Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America

 Harold Holzer, Newmarket

Harold Holzer has written a delightfully brisk account of the story we thought we all knew: the life of Abraham Lincoln. A companion to the movie Lincoln—for which Holzer was a consultant—the book is marketed for young people, but it is a pleasure for readers of any age. Holzer blends a naturally strong narrative with choice personal and political details. Readers will learn, for example, that Mary Todd Lincoln penned a devastating—and anonymous—satire of one of Lincoln’s political opponents that put Lincoln at risk of a duel, and also that the 13th Amendment effort profiled in the movie followed an earlier attempt in 1861 to make slavery enduringly protected in the Constitution. More important, the book showcases Lincoln’s slow and calculated lead-up to emancipation: how he managed fears about emancipation, met with African-American representatives and skillfully flirted with the prospect of repatriating African Americans to Africa.


Originally published in the April 2013 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.