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Abraham Lincoln, the Writer: A Treasury of His Greatest Speeches and Letters

by Harold Holzer Abraham Lincoln

A collection of speeches and letters of Abraham Lincoln, with brief introductions that provide historical background.

Emancipating Lincoln

by Harold Holzer

Emancipating Lincoln seeks a new approach to the Emancipation Proclamation, a foundational text of American liberty that in recent years has been subject to woeful misinterpretation. These seventeen hundred words are Lincoln's most important piece of writing, responsible both for his being hailed as the Great Emancipator and for his being pilloried by those who consider his once-radical effort at emancipation insufficient and half-hearted. Harold Holzer, an award-winning Lincoln scholar, invites us to examine the impact of Lincoln's momentous announcement at the moment of its creation, and then as its meaning has changed over time. Using neglected original sources, Holzer uncovers Lincoln's very modern manipulation of the media-from his promulgation of disinformation to the ways he variously withheld, leaked, and promoted the Proclamation-in order to make his society-altering announcement palatable to America. Examining his agonizing revisions, we learn why a peerless prose writer executed what he regarded as his "greatest act" in leaden language. Turning from word to image, we see the complex responses in American sculpture, painting, and illustration across the past century and a half, as artists sought to criticize, lionize, and profit from Lincoln's endeavor. Holzer shows the faults in applying our own standards to Lincoln's efforts, but also demonstrates how Lincoln's obfuscations made it nearly impossible to discern his true motives. As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Proclamation, this concise volume is a vivid depiction of the painfully slow march of all Americans-white and black, leaders and constituents-toward freedom.

Hearts Touched by Fire: The Best of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War

by James M. Mcpherson Stephen W. Sears Harold Holzer James I. Robertson Craig L. Symonds

In July 1883, just a few days after the twentieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, a group of editors at The Century Magazine engaged in a lively argument: Which Civil War battle was the bloodiest battle of them all? One claimed it was Chickamauga, another Cold Harbor. The argument inspired a brainstorm: Why not let the magazine's 125,000 readers in on the conversation by offering "a series of papers on some of the great battles of the war to be written by officers in command on both sides." The articles would be written by generals, Union and Confederate alike, who had commanded the engagements two decades earlier--"or, if he were not living," by "the person most entitled to speak for him or in his place." The pieces would present both sides of each major battle, and would be fair and free of politics. In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the most enduring entries from the classic four-volume series Battles and Leaders of the Civil War have now been edited and merged into one definitive volume. Here are the best of the immortal first-person accounts of the Civil War originally published in the pages of The Century Magazine more than a hundred years ago. Hearts Touched by Fire offers stunning accounts of the war's great battles written by the men who planned, fought, and witnessed them, from leaders such as General Ulysses S. Grant, General George McClellan, and Confederate captain Clement Sullivane to men of lesser rank. This collection also features new year-by-year introductions by esteemed historians, including James M. McPherson, Craig L. Symonds, and James I. Robertson, Jr., who cast wise modern eyes on the cataclysm that changed America and would go down as the bloodiest conflict in our nation's history. No one interested in our country's past will want to be without this collection of the most popular and influential first-person Civil War memoirs ever published.From the Hardcover edition.

In Lincoln's Hand: His Original Manuscripts with Commentary by Distinguished Americans

by Harold Holzer Joshua Wolf Shenk

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth and in conjunction with the Library of Congress 2009 Bicentennial Exhibition, In Lincoln's Hand offers an unprecedented look at perhaps our greatest president through vivid images of his handwritten letters, speeches, and even childhood notebooks--many never before made available to the public. Edited by leading Lincoln scholars Joshua Wolf Shenk and Harold Holzer, this companion volume to the Library of Congress exhibition offers a fresh and intimate perspective on a man whose thoughts and words continue to affect history. To underscore the resonance of Lincoln's writings on contemporary culture, each manuscript is accompanied by a reflection on Lincoln by a prominent American from the arts, politics, literature, or entertainment, including Toni Morrison, Sam Waterston, Robert Pinsky, Gore Vidal, and presidents Carter, George H.W., and George W. Bush. While Lincoln's words are quite well known, the original manuscripts boast a unique power and beauty and provide rare insight into the creative process. In this collection we can see the ebb and flow of Lincoln's thoughts, emotions, hopes, and doubts. We can see where he paused to dip his pen in the ink or to capture an idea. We can see where he added a word or phrase, and where he crossed out others, searching for the most precise, and concise, expression. In these marks on the page, Lincoln's character is available to us with a profound immediacy. From such icons as the Gettysburg Address and the inaugural speeches to seldom-seen but superb rarities, here is the world as Lincoln saw and shaped it in words and images that resound to this very day.

Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech that Made Abraham Lincoln President

by Harold Holzer

Lincoln at Cooper Union explores Lincoln's most influential and widely reported pre-presidential address -- an extraordinary appeal by the western politician to the eastern elite that propelled him toward the Republican nomination for president. Delivered in New York in February 1860, the Cooper Union speech dispelled doubts about Lincoln's suitability for the presidency and reassured conservatives of his moderation while reaffirming his opposition to slavery to Republican progressives. Award-winning Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer places Lincoln and his speech in the context of the times -- an era of racism, politicized journalism, and public oratory as entertainment -- and shows how the candidate framed the speech as an opportunity to continue his famous "debates" with his archrival Democrat Stephen A. Douglas on the question of slavery. Holzer describes the enormous risk Lincoln took by appearing in New York, where he exposed himself to the country's most critical audience and took on Republican Senator William Henry Seward of New York, the front runner, in his own backyard. Then he recounts a brilliant and innovative public relations campaign, as Lincoln took the speech "on the road" in his successful quest for the presidency.

Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America

by Harold Holzer

A new book-and companion to the Steven Spielberg film-tracing how Abraham Lincoln came to view slavery . . . and came to end it. Steven Spielberg focused his movie Lincoln on the sixteenth president's tumultuous final months in office, when he pursued a course of action to end the Civil War, reunite the country, and abolish slavery. Invited by the filmmakers to write a special Lincoln book as a companion to the film, Harold Holzer, the distinguished historian and a consultant on the movie, now gives us a fast-paced, exciting new book on Lincoln's life and times, his evolving beliefs about slavery, and how he maneuvered to end it. The story starts on January 31, 1865-less than three months before Lincoln's assassination-as the president anxiously awaits word on whether Congress will finally vote to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Although the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier had authorized the army to liberate slaves in Confederate territory, only a Constitutional amendment passed by Congress and ratified by three-fourths of the states would end slavery legally everywhere in the country. Drawing from letters, speeches, memoirs, and documents by Lincoln and others, Holzer goes on to cover Lincoln's boyhood, his moves from Kentucky to Indiana to Illinois, his work as a lawyer and congressman, his unsuccessful candidacies for the U. S. Senate and his victory in two presidential elections, his arduous duties in the Civil War as commander in chief, his actions as president, and his relationships with his family, political rivals, and associates. Holzer provides a fresh view of America in those turbulent times, as well as fascinating insights into the challenges Lincoln faced as he weighed his personal beliefs against his presidential duties in relation to the slavery issue. The passage of the Thirteenth Amendment would become the crowning achievement of Abraham Lincoln's life and the undisputed testament to his political genius. By viewing his life through this prism, Holzer makes an important passage in American history come alive for readers of all ages. The book also includes thirty historical photographs, a chronology, a historical cast of characters, texts of selected Lincoln writings, a bibliography, and notes.

Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861

by Harold Holzer

One of our most eminent Lincoln scholars, winner of a Lincoln Prize for his Lincoln at Cooper Union, examines the four months between Lincoln's election and inauguration, when the president-elect made the most important decision of his coming presidency -- there would be no compromise on slavery or secession of the slaveholding states, even at the cost of civil war. Abraham Lincoln first demonstrated his determination and leadership in the Great Secession Winter -- the four months between his election in November 1860 and his inauguration in March 1861 -- when he rejected compromises urged on him by Republicans and Democrats, Northerners and Southerners, that might have preserved the Union a little longer but would have enshrined slavery for generations. Though Lincoln has been criticized by many historians for failing to appreciate the severity of the secession crisis that greeted his victory, Harold Holzer shows that the president-elect waged a shrewd and complex campaign to prevent the expansion of slavery while vainly trying to limit secession to a few Deep South states. During this most dangerous White House transition in American history, the country had two presidents: one powerless (the president-elect, possessing no constitutional authority), the other paralyzed (the incumbent who refused to act). Through limited, brilliantly timed and crafted public statements, determined private letters, tough political pressure, and personal persuasion, Lincoln guaranteed the integrity of the American political process of majority rule, sounded the death knell of slavery, and transformed not only his own image but that of the presidency, even while making inevitable the war that would be necessary to make these achievements permanent. Lincoln President-Elect is the first book to concentrate on Lincoln's public stance and private agony during these months and on the momentous consequences when he first demonstrated his determination and leadership. Holzer recasts Lincoln from an isolated prairie politician yet to establish his greatness, to a skillful shaper of men and opinion and an immovable friend of freedom at a decisive moment when allegiance to the founding credo "all men are created equal" might well have been sacrificed.

Why Lincoln Matters Today More Than Ever

by Mario Cuomo Harold Holzer

Based on how Lincoln would perceive our world today.

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