"Lincoln's humor" and other essays /
Benjamin P. Thomas ; edited by Michael Burlingame.
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c2002.
l, 262 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
0252027086 (alk. paper)
More Details
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c2002.
0252027086 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Benjamin P. Thomas (1902-56) was the author of Abraham Lincoln: A Biography and Lincoln's New Salem and coauthor of Stanton: The Life and Times of Lincoln's Secretary of War Michael Burlingame is May Buckley Sadowski Professor of History Emeritus at Connecticut College and the author of The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-12-01:
Historian and farmer Thomas, a gracious and beguiling citizen of Springfield, Illinois, died in 1956, leaving behind scores of friends and admirers. His classic Abraham Lincoln (1952) remains the book most frequently recommended as a biographical introduction to this complex figure. His Lincoln's New Salem (1934) and Portrait for Posterity: Lincoln and His Biographers (1947) remain at the head of their class because Thomas patiently learned to understand and interpret Lincoln. Editor Burlingame (formerly, Connecticut College) has assembled several unpublished pieces and a few essays that Thomas had hidden in obscure places to create a book well worth reading. Burlingame prints half of the 16 essays for the first time, and only intrepid scholars would discover most of the others. He begins with some 30 pages of well-written biography. The opening essay by Thomas, "Lincoln's Humor: An Analysis," exhumed from the 1935 volume of the Abraham Lincoln Association Papers, still crackles with appreciation of Lincoln's way with stories and dazzles with shrewd analysis. Thomas deserves reverent treatment and, thanks to Burlingame, receives this reward. The book will delight Lincoln scholars and all who admire graceful prose. All levels and collections. J. Y. Simon Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Review Quotes
"Affirms Thomas' reputation as a diligent researcher and lucid writer and perhaps might even send interested readers back to his sterling biography." -- William W. Starr, 3Knight Ridder Newspapers"Here you'll get tall tales and clever barbs Lincoln shot at political opponents. You'll see how he used humor to defuse tension, illuminate a point, and put others at ease. And, you'll see him from the eyes of political friends and foes." -- Janeen Burkholder, 3Illinois Times"Burlingame makes available a collection of previously uncollected and unpublished writings from acclaimed Lincoln scholar, Benjamin P. Thomas. The essays contained within this collection touch on Lincoln's character as a humorist, lawyer, and politician." -- 3Civil War Book NewsADVANCE PRAISE"Admirers of the gifted and graceful Lincoln author Benjamin P. Thomas now can enjoy the best of his short essays in this welcome volume."-- Cullom Davis, Lincoln Legal Papers"Thomas left a corpus of books and articles that firmly established his reputation as a careful researcher, gifted interpreter, and lucid stylist. . . . No one in the past ten years of Lincoln scholarship has come close to matching Michael Burlingame's productivity or his mastery of Lincoln sources. -- Douglas L. Wilson, author of 3Honor's Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2002
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Main Description
This volume gathers the best previously unpublished and uncollected writings on Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln scholarship by one of his great biographers, Benjamin P. Thomas.A skilled historian and a masterful storyteller himself, Thomas was widely regarded as the greatest Lincoln historian of his generation. With these essays, he combines historical depth with narrative grace in delineating Lincoln's qualities as a humorist, lawyer, and politician. From colorful tall tales to clever barbs aimed at political opponents, Lincoln clothed a shrewd wit in a homespun, backwoods vernacular. He used humor to defuse tension, illuminate a point, put others at ease--and sometimes for sheer fun. From an early reliance on broad humor and ridicule in speeches and on the stump, Lincoln's style shifted in 1854 to a more serious vein in which humor came primarily to elucidate an argument. "If I did not laugh occasionally I should die," he is said to have told his cabinet, "and you need this medicine as much as I do."Thomas brings his deep knowledge of Lincoln to essays on the great man's tumultuous career in Congress, his work as a lawyer, his experiences in the Courts, and his opinions of the South. A gracious survey of Lincoln's early biographers, particularly Ida Tarbell, stands alongside an appreciation of Harry Edward Pratt, a key figure in the early days of the Abraham Lincoln Association. Thomas also assesses Lincoln's use of language and the ongoing significance of the Gettysburg Address.This diverse collection is enhanced by an introduction by Michael Burlingame, himself a leading biographer of Lincoln. Burlingame provides a balanced portrait of Thomas and his circuitous path toward writing history.
Unpaid Annotation
Gathers the best previously unpublished and uncollected writings on Lincoln by one of his great biographers.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
The Words of Lincoln
Lincoln's Humor: An Analysisp. 3
Abraham Lincolnp. 23
Lincoln's Way with Wordsp. 28
The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address, Then and Todayp. 34
The Life of Lincoln
Lincoln and Democracyp. 45
Some Popular Misconceptions about Lincolnp. 60
Lincoln and New Salemp. 71
Lincoln and the Southp. 79
Lincoln from 1847 to 1853p. 90
Abe Lincoln, Country Lawyerp. 139
Lincoln and the Courts, 1854-61p. 153
Edwin M. Stanton Takes Over the War Departmentp. 189
The Biographers of Lincoln
Backstage with the Lincoln Biographersp. 207
Harry Edward Prattp. 222
Our Lincoln Heritage from Ida Tarbellp. 230
The Art of Biographyp. 246
Indexp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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