Abraham Lincoln

  Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Grant and Madame JuleMrs. Lincoln's DressmakerThe SpymistressMrs. Lincoln's Rival, and the Elm Creek Quilts series.

Her new novel, Fates and Traitors, is about John Wilkes Booth, the mercurial son of an acclaimed British stage actor and Covent Garden flower girl, committed one of the most notorious acts in American history—the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

It’s been a while since we rang the bell and invited you into history class here at TBOOK University, and given the current atmosphere in the political world, why not talk about one of the most revered politicians in American history.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, Sidney Blumenthal talks about the first volume in his massive new project exploring the history of the man who some consider the greatest President of the United States.

  Sidney Blumenthal's A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. I, 1809 - 1849 is the first of a multi-volume history of Lincoln as a political genius - from his obscure beginnings to his presidency, assassination, and the overthrow of his post-Civil War dreams of Reconstruction. This volume traces Lincoln from his painful youth, describing himself as “a slave,” to his emergence as the man we recognize as Abraham Lincoln.

From his youth as a “newsboy,” a voracious newspaper reader, Lincoln became a free thinker, reading Tom Paine, as well as Shakespeare and the Bible, and studying Euclid to sharpen his arguments as a lawyer.

Lincoln’s anti-slavery thinking began in his childhood amidst the Primitive Baptist antislavery dissidents in backwoods Kentucky and Indiana, the roots of his repudiation of Southern Christian pro-slavery theology. Intensely ambitious, he held political aspirations from his earliest years.

  Jacopo Della Quercia is an educator and history writer who has authored more than 100 articles for the comedy website Cracked.com. His work has been featured in The New York Times best-seller: You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News.

His new book is the historical thriller, The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy. The book is an equal-parts cocktail of action, adventure, science-fiction and comedy. It follows a globe-trotting President Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln in a race to solve a mystery stretching back to the Civil War and the Lincoln assassination. Based on true events, the books describes a vast conspiracy spanning four continents and three oceans during the turn of the century.


  Thursday, August 14th at 4pm, The Berkshire Theatre Group - in partnership with Chesterwood - will present "Lincoln's Favorite Shakespeare" - an afternoon reading of President Abraham Lincoln's favorite writing by Shakespeare.

  A quartet of noted actors are donating their performances to the event which has been assembled and annotated by noted Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer and is produced and directed by Gordon Hyatt.

One of the actors is Chris Noth, who is best known for his work on Law & Order, Sex and the City, and The Good Wife.

    Thursday, August 14th at 4pm, The Berkshire Theatre Festival - in partnership with Chesterwood - will present "Lincoln's Favorite Shakespeare" - an afternoon reading of President Abraham Lincoln's favorite writing by Shakespeare. The reading will take place at Berkshire Theatre Group's Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, MA and will be followed by a reception at Chesterwood.

A quartet of noted actors: Kathleen Chalfant, Chris Noth, John Douglas Thompson and Fritz Weaver are donating their performances to the event which has been assembled and annotated by noted scholar Harold Holzer, author and editor of over 40 books about Lincoln.

Lincoln’s official secretaries John Hay and John Nicolay enjoyed more access, witnessed more history, and knew Lincoln better than anyone outside of the president’s immediate family. Hay and Nicolay were the gatekeepers of the Lincoln legacy. They read poetry and attendeded the theater with the president, commiserated with him over Union army setbacks, and plotted electoral strategy.

They were present at every seminal event, from the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation to Lincoln’s delivery of the Gettysburg Address—and they wrote about it after his death.

    Of the half-dozen full-length histories of the battle of Gettysburg written over the last century, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion is the first to dive down so closely to the experience of the individual soldier, or looks so closely at the sway of politics over military decisions, or places the battle so firmly in the context of nineteenth-century military practice.

  Walter Stahr, author of an acclaimed biography on one of Union College's most distinguished alumni, William Henry Seward, will deliver the keynote address at Founders Day today at 12:45 in Memorial Chapel. The event commemorates the 218th anniversary of the College’s charter.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Abraham Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is on display in Albany, wrapping up the historic document's tour of New York state.

The two-day exhibit opened Friday in the War Room on the second floor of the state Capitol. It features the only surviving version of the document in Lincoln's handwriting. The display also includes historical background and interpretation of the document, which was issued by Lincoln on Sept. 22, 1862.

The final Emancipation Proclamation was issued and took effect on Jan. 1, 1863.

Amy S. Greenberg is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of History and Women's Studies at Penn State University. She is a leading scholar of Manifest Destiny and has held fellowships from the Huntington Library, the New-York Historical Society, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the American Philosophical Society.

Harold Holzer

Nov 14, 2012

Harold Holzer is one of the country's leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. A prolific writer and lecturer, and frequent guest on television, Holzer serves as chairman of The Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation.

Listener Essay - The Power of Warmth and Icy Resolve

Nov 14, 2012

Kathryn Allen is a writer living in Menands, NY.

Famed film critic, writer, and film historian Richard Schickel has written a retrospective of Spielberg’s career (Steven Spielberg: A Retrospective). We speak with him about the book and he shares his thoughts on the director’s latest film.

Film clip audio copyright DreamWorks Pictures and 20th Century Fox

In chilly weather, Lincoln often wore a dark wool shawl over his shoulders. Many years later Robert Todd Lincoln gave his father's shawl to a friend and it now in the American History collection at The Smithsonian (though not currently on display). In the new movie, Lincoln is seen often wearing a shawl.

In Lincoln: A President for the Ages, Lincoln scholars speculate on questions like: Would Lincoln have dropped the bomb on Hiroshima? How would he conduct the War on Terror? Would he favor women’s suffrage or gay rights? Would today’s Lincoln be a star on Facebook and Twitter? Would he embrace the religious right—or denounce it?

The book is edited by our guest, Karl Weber.

"A Lincoln Portrait" by Aaron Copland narrated by Walter Cronkite with the US Coast Guard Band

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Nov 14, 2012

Doris Kearns Goodwin spent almost a decade with Lincoln while writing the 2005 bestseller - Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. The film’s screenplay comes from Tony and Pulitzer Prize Award Winner – Tony Kushner (Angels in America).

Tony Kushner will be a featured speaker at the next Speakers at Temple Emanuel Series on Sunday, November 18.

Steven Spielberg directs two-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln,” a drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office. The movie opens nationwide on Friday and we will focus on Lincoln – the man and the movie on today’s Roundtable. Our Question of the Day: What do you take from the legacy of Abraham Lincoln?


The only surviving draft of President Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is being exhibited at museums across New York State.   North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was at the SUNY Plattsburgh Art Museum this morning, where the historic document will be shown for one day.