Catalogue


Abraham Lincoln in the post-heroic era [electronic resource] : history and memory in late twentieth-century America /
Barry Schwartz.
imprint
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, c2008.
description
xvi, 394 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0226741885 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780226741888 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, c2008.
isbn
0226741885 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780226741888 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Ascension : Lincoln in the Great Depression -- Apex : Lincoln in the Second World War -- Transition : Cold War, racial conflict, and contested images of Lincoln -- Transfiguration : civil rights movement, vanishing savior of the Union -- Erosion : fading prestige, benign ridicule -- Post-heroic era : acids of equality and the waning of greatness -- Inertia : the enduring Lincoln.
catalogue key
11569092
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [305]-370) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-11-01:
Schwartz (sociology, emeritus, Univ. of Georgia) continues his investigation of Lincoln's place in American memory and meaning with this second volume in his projected three-volume study. Here he studies Lincoln's image roughly from the 1920s to the present, with an emphasis on survey research from the post-World War II era. Schwartz argues that over the past 75 years, Lincoln's image in Americans' collective memory has contracted from savior of the Union, reconciler of sections, emancipator, and advocate of equality and justice to being principally emancipator, with even that role contested as to the extent and purpose of Lincoln's push toward freedom. Schwartz attributes this shrinking of Lincoln's stature to such factors as Americans' collective self-doubt, distrust of "great men," cynicism, fading nationalism, and self-absorption, in the midst of a growing collective emphasis on multiculturalism, postmodern relativism, and declining belief in human "greatness." If Schwartz overstates his case for the supposed weakening of faith in greatness by ignoring new heroes of collective memory such as Martin Luther King, Jr., he makes many important points about the contingency of public respect for its past and its heroes. In the end, Lincoln still stands tallest, but a diverse people don't look up to him alone as exemplar of all they hold dear. Provocative and disturbing; recommended for university and large public libraries.-Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2010-01-01:
In this second volume of a study of how Lincoln has been remembered by Americans (Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory, CH, Mar'01, 38-4183), Schwartz (emer., sociology, Univ. of Georgia) asserts that Lincoln is less revered in contemporary times as a great figure because the post-heroic US is much more skeptical of greatness and has become more inclusive of historically marginalized individuals and distrustful of singular meta-narratives. Relying on a welter of survey data and public pronouncements, Schwartz shows how the image of Lincoln as the savior of the Union has morphed into a view of Lincoln the Great Emancipator, judged on his personal attributes and deeds rather than as the holder of the office of president during the Civil War. Disenchantment with celebratory nationalism and social outlooks that emphasize equality over disparate achievement makes a godlike Lincoln unnecessary. Further, Lincoln's views on race mark him as a dated figure, even as the emancipationist record makes him relevant but demystified, key to a multicultural US. Profitably read alongside Merrill Peterson's Lincoln in American Memory (CH, Oct'94, 32-1161), this volume illustrates how collective memory of the past both shapes and explains the contemporary. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. E. R. Crowther Adams State College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Schwartz demonstrates engagingly and convincingly how Lincoln is a historical phenomenon who can weather misunderstanding, misrepresentation, mockery, caricature, and popular cultural exploitation and still maintain something of his real integrity."
"Schwartz demonstrates engagingly and convincingly how Lincoln is a historical phenomenon who can weather misunderstanding, misrepresentation, mockery, caricature, and popular cultural exploitation and still maintain something of his real integrity." Times Higher Education
"Schwartz demonstrates engagingly and convincingly how Lincoln is a historical phenomenon who can weather misunderstanding, misrepresentation, mockery, caricature, and popular cultural exploitation and still maintain something of his real integrity."--Times Higher Education
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, November 2008
Choice, January 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
By the 1920s, Abraham Lincoln had transcended the lingering controversies of the Civil War to become a secular saint. Throughout the Great Depression and World War II, Lincoln was invoked as a reminder of America's strength and wisdom. This text reveals that those years represent the apogee of Lincoln's prestige.
Main Description
By the 1920s, Abraham Lincoln had transcended the lingering controversies of the Civil War to become a secular saint, honored in North and South alike for his steadfast leadership in crisis. Throughout the Great Depression and World War II, Lincoln was invoked countless times as a reminder of America's strength and wisdom, a commanding ideal against which weary citizens could see their own hardships in perspective. But as Barry Schwartz reveals inAbraham Lincoln in the Post-Heroic Era,those years represent the apogee of Lincoln's prestige. The decades following World War II brought radical changes to American culture, changes that led to the diminishing of all heroesLincoln not least among them. As Schwartz explains, growing sympathy for the plight of racial minorities, disenchantment with the American state, the lessening of patriotism in the wake of the Vietnam War, and an intensifying celebration of diversity, all contributed to a culture in which neither Lincoln nor any single person could be a heroic symbol for all Americans. Paradoxically, however, the very culture that made Lincoln an object of indifference, questioning, criticism, and even ridicule was a culture of unprecedented beneficence and inclusion, where racial, ethnic, and religious groups treated one another more fairly and justly than ever before. Thus, as the prestige of the Great Emancipator shrank, his legacy of equality continued to flourish. Drawing on a stunning range of sourcesincluding films, cartoons, advertisements, surveys, shrine visitations, public commemorations, and moreSchwartz documents the decline of Lincoln's public standing, asking throughout whether there is any path back from this post-heroic era. Can a new generation of Americans embrace again their epic past, including great leaders whom they know to be flawed? As the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial approaches, readers will discover here a stirring reminder that Lincoln, as a man, still has much to say to usabout our past, our present, and our possible futures.
Main Description
By the 1920s, Abraham Lincoln had transcended the lingering controversies of the Civil War to become a secular saint, honored in North and South alike for his steadfast leadership in crisis. Throughout the Great Depression and World War II, Lincoln was invoked countless times as a reminder of America's strength and wisdom, a commanding ideal against which weary citizens could see their own hardships in perspective. But as Barry Schwartz reveals in Abraham Lincoln in the Post-Heroic Era, those years represent the apogee of Lincoln's prestige. The decades following World War II brought radical changes to American culture, changes that led to the diminishing of all heroesLincoln not least among them. As Schwartz explains, growing sympathy for the plight of racial minorities, disenchantment with the American state, the lessening of patriotism in the wake of the Vietnam War, and an intensifying celebration of diversity, all contributed to a culture in which neither Lincoln nor any single person could be a heroic symbol for all Americans. Paradoxically, however, the very culture that made Lincoln an object of indifference, questioning, criticism, and even ridicule was a culture of unprecedented beneficence and inclusion, where racial, ethnic, and religious groups treated one another more fairly and justly than ever before. Thus, as the prestige of the Great Emancipator shrank, his legacy of equality continued to flourish. Drawing on a stunning range of sourcesincluding films, cartoons, advertisements, surveys, shrine visitations, public commemorations, and moreSchwartz documents the decline of Lincoln's public standing, asking throughout whether there is any path back from this post-heroic era. Can a new generation of Americans embrace again their epic past, including great leaders whom they know to be flawed? As the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial approaches, readers will discover here a stirring reminder that Lincoln, as a man, still has much to say to usabout our past, our present, and our possible futures.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. 1
Ascension: Lincoln in the Great Depressionp. 20
Apex: Lincoln in the Second World Warp. 59
Transition: Cold War, Racial Conflict, and Contested Images of Lincolnp. 91
Transfiguration: Civil Rights Movement, Vanishing Savior of the Unionp. 115
Erosion: Fading Prestige, Benign Ridiculep. 146
Post-Heroic Era: Acids of Equality and the Waning of Greatnessp. 180
Inertia: The Enduring Lincolnp. 219
Conclusionp. 254
Appendices (A-K)p. 269
Notesp. 305
Indexp. 371
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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