Tag Archives: American Civil War

6 Reads to Celebrate Lincoln’s Legacy

This Sunday marks the 208th birthday of Abraham Lincoln–the only president born in Kentucky! To celebrate, we’re sharing a few of our favorite books about Honest Abe.


morel.final.inddLincoln and Liberty: Wisdom for the Ages

Since Abraham Lincoln’s death, generations of Americans have studied his life, presidency, and leadership, often remaking him into a figure suited to the needs and interests of their own time. This illuminating volume takes a different approach to his political thought and practice. Here, a distinguished group of contributors argue that Lincoln’s relevance today is best expressed by rendering an accurate portrait of him in his own era. They seek to understand Lincoln as he understood himself and as he attempted to make his ideas clear to his contemporaries. What emerges is a portrait of a prudent leader who is driven to return the country to its original principles in order to conserve it.

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9780813192413Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated with Our Greatest President

As one might expect with a revered national icon, nearly every facet of Abraham Lincoln’s life has been subject to mythmaking as well as academic inquiry of widely varying quality and accuracy. In Lincoln Legends, noted historian and Lincoln expert Edward Steers Jr. carefully scrutinizes some of the most notorious tall tales and distorted ideas about America’s sixteenth President. Did Abraham Lincoln write his greatest speech on the back of an envelope on the way to Gettysburg? Did he appear before a congressional committee to defend his wife against charges of treason? Was Lincoln an illegitimate child? Was he gay? Edward Steers weighs the evidence in these and other heated debates about the Great Emancipator. Steers’s conclusions will satisfy some and disappoint others, and he just might settle some of these enduring questions once and for all.

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canavan.final.inddLincoln’s Final Hours: Conspiracy, Terror, and the Assassination of America’s Greatest President

In Lincoln’s Final Hours, author Kathryn Canavan takes a magnifying glass to the last moments of the president’s life and to the impact his assassination had on a country still reeling from a bloody civil war. With vivid, thoroughly researched prose and a reporter’s eye for detail, this fast-paced account not only furnishes a glimpse into John Wilkes Booth’s personal and political motivations but also illuminates the stories of ordinary people whose lives were changed forever by the assassination. Through her careful narration of the twists of fate that placed the president in harm’s way, of the plotting conversations Booth had with his accomplices, and of the immediate aftermath of the assassination, Canavan illustrates how the experiences of a single night changed the course of history.

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9780813136530Abraham Lincoln, Esq.: The Legal Career of America’s Greatest President

As our nation’s most beloved and recognizable president, Abraham Lincoln is best known for the Emancipation Proclamation and for guiding our country through the Civil War. But before he took the oath of office, Lincoln practiced law for nearly twenty-five years in the Illinois courts. Editors Roger Billings and Frank J. Williams, along with a notable list of contributors, examine Lincoln’s career as a general-practice attorney, looking both at his work in Illinois and at the time he spent in Washington. Each chapter offers an expansive look at Lincoln’s legal mind and covers diverse topics such as Lincoln’s legal writing, ethics, the Constitution, and international law. Abraham Lincoln, Esq. emphasizes this often overlooked period in Lincoln’s career and sheds light on Lincoln’s life before he became our sixteenth president.

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9780813109718With Charity for All: Lincoln and the Restoration of the Union

William C. Harris maintains that Lincoln held a fundamentally conservative position on the process of reintegrating the South, one that permitted a large measure of self-reconstruction, and that he did not modify his position late in the war. In With Charity for All he examines the reasoning and ideology behind Lincoln’s policies, describes what happened when military and civil agents tried to implement them at the local level, and evaluates Lincoln’s successes and failures in bringing his restoration efforts to closure.

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9780813190624Lincoln on Lincoln

Though Abraham Lincoln has been the subject of numerous biographies, his personality remains an enigma. During his lifetime, Lincoln prepared two sketches of his life for the 1860 presidential race. These brief campaign portraits serve as the core around which Paul Zall weaves extracts from correspondence, speeches, and interviews to produce an in-depth biography. Lincoln on Lincoln shows a man struggling to reconcile personal ambition and civic virtue, conscience and Constitution, and ultimately the will of God and the will of the people. Zall frames Lincoln’s words with his own illuminating commentary, providing a continuous, compelling narrative. Beginning with Lincoln’s thoughts on his parents, the story moves though his youth and early successes and failures in law and politics, and culminates in his clashes and conflicts–internal as well as external–as president of a divided country. Through his writings, Lincoln said much more about himself than is commonly recognized, and Zall uses this material to create a unique portrait of this pivotal figure.

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To explore more titles about Lincoln and the American Civil War, visit our website.

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Biography Subject, Alonzo Cushing, Wins Medal of Honor

Almost 150 years after his death in the battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863, Alonzo Cushing, first lieutenant of Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery, has received the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. On Monday, President Obama officially bestowed the honor on Cushing along with Command Sergeant Major Adkins and Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat who both served and distinguished themselves during the Vietnam War.

Alonzo Cushing

Army First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing

According to a statement released by the White House, “Army First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing distinguished himself during combat operations against an armed enemy in the vicinity of Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1863.” In Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander, Kent Masterson Brown offers an expansive view of the life and career of Lt. Cushing. Brown, author of Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign and creator of The Civil War magazine, incorporates vivid descriptions of the fury of battle and the exhaustion of forced battles to honor the historic contributions of Cushing.

Cushing courageously led the Union troops to break Pickett’s Charge in the battle, even placing his thumb over the vent of a Confederate gun and having it burned to the bone. Shortly after this incident he was killed instantly by a gunshot to his face. His first sergeant, who survived the battle, was awarded the Medal of Honor.

In an NPR interview, Brown revealed that the Army War Decorations Board contacted him as

part of their verification process while vetting Cushing’s story. The board drew on Brown’s extensive knowledge of Cushing and the body of information that he had cultivated while writing Cushing of Gettysburg.

For many, though, Cushing’s award is long overdue. Residents in Cushing’s hometown of Delafield, Wisconsin; the former governor of Wisconsin, Jim Doyle; and many Facebook fans pushed for the recognition. Former U.S. Senator Russell D. Feingold endorsed Cushing’s nomination in 2003, and in March of 2010, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh confirmed that the Army supported Cushing’s nomination, ending years of lobbying by descendants and admirers.

In Brown’s interview he closed saying, “I wonder whether Cushing may be the last Civil War soldier to receive it. And if he is, I’d like to think that it’s being given to him but on behalf of all those others who are going to go unnamed – that they will all share in Cushing’s award of the Medal of Honor because we’ll never be able to right all those, quote, ‘wrongs,’ unquote, of all those other soldiers who were equally valorous.”

Continue for an excerpt from Brown’s Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander:

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All About Abe: Lincoln Legends Giveaway

This week, we’re giving away a copy of Lincoln Legends by Edward Steers, Jr. Respond by Friday, February 15 at 1:00 pm for your chance to win!

ImageWith less than two weeks until the Oscars, the buzz about Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is louder than ever. Lincoln leads the Oscars with a dozen nominations—spread among many who are already nominees and winners several times over. Daniel Day-Lewis delivers a remarkable portrayal of the great statesman who shaped history. In the more than 140 years since his death, Abraham Lincoln has become America’s most revered president.

This week, the University Press of Kentucky is giving away a copy of Edward Steers, Jr.’s Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated with Our Greatest President to one lucky entrant. Image

Nearly every facet of Abraham Lincoln’s life has been subject to myth-making. Did Lincoln really write his greatest speech on the back of an envelope on the way to Gettysburg? Did he appear before a congressional committee to defend his wife against charges of treason? Was Lincoln an illegitimate child? Was he gay? In Lincoln Legends, Steers weighs the evidence of the most heated Lincoln debates, and he just might settle some of these enduring questions once and for all.

This week, we’re featuring this notable book on our blog and will give away a copy to a lucky winner. To enter our giveaway, fill in the required fields below with your name and contact information. We will randomly select one winner on Friday, February 15 at 1:00 pm.

Good luck, and spread the word!

Remembering the Civil War, 150 Years Ago Today

 

via The Illinois State Historical Society

via The Kentucky Historical Society

The legacy of the American Civil War (1861 – 1865) is remembered as the war that tore the U.S. apart. On April 12, 1861, Confederate commander P.G.T. Beauregard ordered open fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, and the war officially began. Until General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, the Union forces of the north, and the Confederate forces of the south clashed bitterly on battlegrounds across the country. Even as one of the darker blemishes on American history, the Civil War remains a part of our legacy as a struggle that helped shape our nation as we know it.

Today we commemorate the sesquicentennial, or 150th Anniversary, of the start of the Civil War. As Kentuckians we have always had the unique designation as a border state that declared allegiance to neither the south nor the north, and our geography claims battle sites such as Perryville and Forts Henry and Donelson. Kentucky is also the birthplace of both Civil War presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd, U.S. Vice President and Confederate States’ Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge, and Basil Wilson Duke, who was also the brother-in-law of John Hunt Morgan (not a native Kentuckian, but who made Lexington his home).

President Lincoln recognized the strategic importance of Kentucky during the war, declaring:

“I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.”

If Civil War history is your thing, or you’d like to celebrate the sesquicentennial by learning a little bit more, The University Press of Kentucky wants to feed your interest with books, maps, photos, and a little help from our friends.

  • The Kentucky Historical Society has lots of Civil War happenings and projects you can check out here. And links to their news and events surrounding the sesquicentennial here.
  • KET has some wonderful educational overviews of the Civil War in Kentucky, including timelines, maps, and speeches.
  • The Library of Congress was recently gifted with the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs which features ‘more than 700 ambrotype and tintype photographs [that] highlight both Union and Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War’. Spend a few minutes flipping through, the quality and detail are incredible!
Unidentified African American Union soldier with a rifle and revolver in front of painted backdrop showing weapons and   American flag at Benton Barracks, Saint Louis, Missouri. From the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs, http://www.loc.gov
  • Though its not ENTIRELY Civil War related, The University of Louisville has an extensive collection of historic Kentucky maps, digitized for your easy perusal. Including this Civil War-era map of Louisville and its defenses.
  • University Press of Kentucky author Rusty Williams (My Old Confederate Home) maintains a blog of the same name, highlighting stories from Confederate soldiers’ homes.
  • And of course, The University Press of Kentucky has a substantial list of Civil War reading, inluding:

The Virginia at War Series

One of Morgan’s Men: Memoirs of Lieutenant John M. Porter of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry


Kentuckians in Gray: Confederate Generals and Field Officers of the Bluegrass State


Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle

For more UPK Civil War Titles see below, or visit www.kentuckypress.com

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