Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution
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Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  434 ratings  ·  21 reviews
James McPherson is one of America's finest historians. Battle Cry of Freedom, his Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Civil War, was a nat'l bestseller that Hugh Brogan, in The NY Times Book Review, called "history writing of the highest order." That volume gathered in the broad sweep of events, the political, social & cultural forces at work during the Civil War era...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published February 5th 1991 by Oxford University Press (NY/Oxford) (first published November 30th 1983)
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Mar 26, 2007 Randy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Lincoln the Revolutionary, Lincoln the Crusader, the Visonary-- this collection of essays addresses a side of Lincoln that is largely overlooked while slapping down the Neo-Confederate Revisonists.

Those who tout the Myth of The Confederacy As Heirs to 1776 ( a popular fable here in the Commonwealth) will read this book and shrilly denonounce it. They will have however have to marshall something more than the "Standing up For Their Rights) argument as McPherson allows the words of the Confederate...more
Sanju George
The challenge facing any author who wants to write about Abraham Lincoln is finding a way to say something new. In Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, historian James McPherson meets that challenge quite well. By the time this book was published in the early 1990's, McPherson had already published Battle Cry of Freedom, a bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner. Battle Cry of Freedom is still widely regarded as this generation's definitive single-volume history of the Civil War, and...more
Incredibly readable and concise collection of McPherson lectures from an AP US History class in high school. Some interesting points include:

- How the Civil War was more revolutionary than the original American revolution of 1776 (abolition of slavery, destruction and mass redistribution of "wealth", strengthening of the power of the federal government, etc)
- Lincoln's grand strategies for winning the war, as opposed to specific operational / military strategies
- The evolution of said national...more
Read this book For my Book Analysis in History - I am biased towards President Lincoln so this book could do no wrong and it was not the first book/ collection of essays that I have read on the subject. If you are interested in Civil War era History or Political Science this is a wonderful read its short may take you a couple days to a week(s) to read but offers not really an original but entertaining (no Vampires) look into the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War viewed as Americas...more
A wonderful analysis of the impact of Lincoln's presidency and decision making on American culture.
Paul Haspel
The challenge facing any author who wants to write about Abraham Lincoln is finding a way to say something new. In Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, historian James McPherson meets that challenge quite well. By the time this book was published in the early 1990's, McPherson had already published Battle Cry of Freedom, a bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner. Battle Cry of Freedom is still widely regarded as this generation's definitive single-volume history of the Civil War, and...more
Gary Hoggatt
In his 1992 collection, Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, Civil War historian James M. McPherson draws together seven intriguing essays on Lincoln and the Civil War. The two main threads running through the essays are how the Civil War could really qualify as a revolution, given the massive transformative and and liberating effect it had on the United States, and how Lincoln lead the revolution, both philosophically and militarily. It's a very thought provoking and enjoyable co...more
Overall, I very much enjoyed McPherson's book. He provided some really interesting and useful insight into Lincoln, his policies before and during the war, as well as the events and actions of those around him. I particularly liked the essays on how the Civil War was the Second American Revolution and Lincoln's use of metaphors. We don't typically think of the Civil War as a revolution, but McPherson provides strong evidence that not only did many people at the time see it as such-- and we often...more
This is not an average history book but a fascinating book of essays written by the great James McPherson. They cover and explain such subjects as how the Civil War as actually the second American Revolution, Lincoln's superb use of metaphors, the definition of positive and negative liberty, and the expansion of the U.S. government which was started during the war and Reconstruction. This book is enjoyable to read and thought provoking.
Giff Zimmerman
This is one of my favorite Lincoln or Civil War books. Crisply written and tightly argued, its seven chapters focus not on the events of the Civil War, but rather on the war's implications and repercussions for America, and its politics, law and culture. Each chapter focuses on a separate aspect of the war, some broad (e.g., the meaning of “liberty”, the related concepts of “total war” and “unconditional surrender”), some very narrow (Lincoln's mastery of the use of metaphor). The chapters were...more
A collection of essays exploring the "revolutionary" impact of the Civil War--in terms of its effect on the social and political institutions of the nation--and Lincoln's role as "revolutionary statesman." McPherson argues that this revolution was even more far-reaching than the one of 1776.
Nick Dupree
A riveting collection of historical essays on Lincoln and the Civil War. A must have for any Civil War buff, this book especially excels when discussing the "revolutionary" changes to American society, law, and the Constitution in the early post-bellum period. Thinking of "radical" Reconstruction as a "Second American Revolution," and the rollback of voting and civil rights for ex-slaves in the 1870s as a "counter-revolution" provides a useful frame for exploring the political upheavals and raci...more
Michael Stein
This is an excellent book. Very well written. It provides an excellent account for Lincoln's reasoning behind the Emancipation Proclamation and the 14th Amendment. McPherson quotes Lincoln's parable about a shepherd who uses his staff to knock the wolf from one of his sheep's throat. The sheep being slaves and the wolf being slave owners. Lincoln used this parable to illustrate the audaciousnous of slave owners to decry their loss of freedom for not being able to own slaves. The same argument co...more
Fredrick Danysh
Many look at the American Civil War as a second revolution for freedom. The issue that began the war was whether states had the right to leave the Uion once they had joined. Slavery did not become an issue until the middle of the war when Lincoln introduced it as a cause to keep England from aiding the Confederacy. Lincoln also suspended Constitutional rights of the American people.
Glenn Robinson
Great book of essays on Lincoln. Various subjects, including comparison between Lincoln and Jefferson Davis as leaders, communicators and motivators; Lincoln as War Commander; Lincoln as an executive.
This is one of the most well written and concise treatments I have ever read of the Civil War as a revolution in the American notion of liberty. Now I must grade reviews on this book by my undergrad students.
Audra Wolfe
Disappointing. McPherson is brilliant, but it turns out that this is just a collection of lectures turned into a book. You're better off reading his actual books instead.
This book was an excellent collection of essays that documented different aspects of Lincoln. Most notably, I enjoyed the essay that focused on Lincoln's writing style.
Wisteria Leigh
TAH,American history,Abraham Lincoln,American Civil War,2008-Spring,non-fiction,Seccession,antebellum,slavery,emancipation
Robert Agouri
I found it a little too dry and academic.
Sebastian Cosgrove
Assigned for class - quick easy read.
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James M. McPherson (born October 11, 1936) is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, his most famous book. He was the president of the American Historical Association in 2003, and is a member of the editorial board of Encyclopædia Britannica.

More about James M. McPherson...
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam

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