Tuesday, November 17, 2009

UIS Lincoln scholar's book named top 5 pick for 2009

Dr. Michael Burlingame’s book “Abraham Lincoln: A Life” has been picked by The Atlantic Monthly magazine as one of the top five books of 2009. Burlingame is a professor of history at the University of Illinois Springfield and holds the Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies. Burlingame is considered a preeminent national Lincoln Scholar and has now written three books on the history of the 16th president.

“Needless to say, I am delighted to be ranked with such distinguished authors as A.S. Byatt, Richard J. Evans, James Lasdun, and Alison Light,” said Burlingame. “I am also a bit surprised, for the literary editor of the Atlantic Monthly, Benjamin Schwarz, believes that most books are too long and therefore tends to prefer short story collections to novels. In dealing with non-fiction, however, he seems willing to acknowledge that biographers (like myself) sometimes need a big canvas (two volumes) to portray heroes like Abraham Lincoln and that historians (like Richard J. Evans) need an even bigger canvas (three volumes) to describe villains like the leaders and followers of the Third Reich."

Schwarz calls Burlingame’s book “Measured, psychologically astute, authoritative when it can be.” The reviewer says “Michael Burlingame’s exhaustive narrative (2,024 pages!) is unafraid of ambiguity and indeterminacy. This is the life of Lincoln for our times.”

In the Atlantic’s original review of the book in July/August 2009 contributing editor Christopher Hitchens praised the way Burlingame describes the Lincoln-Douglas debates saying “I would say that the account given here of the famous debates surpasses all its predecessors.”

Dr. Burlingame has taught numerous courses on Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War era, and 19th century American history. He’s currently involved in research projects at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield and other Lincoln research venues.

The Atlantic Monthly picked Burlingame’s book from a crowded field of 25 other top candidates for the year. You can find the Atlantic Monthly Top 5 List at: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200912/books2009

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1 Comments:

Blogger Sam said...

I have almost finished reading this biography and all I can say is that Burlingame has done a great job captured what other have not been able to do about Lincoln.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is considered a classic in the future.

The book is a thorough 1500 pages account and user many direct quotes and he ties all the ideas together in a very coherent manner.

Excellent read

Philip Marshall
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Best Teeth Whitener

1:36 AM  

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