His image today is part of America, from the penny to Mount Rushmore, but in his own day Abraham Lincoln was as much reviled as he was revered, and he remained a controversial figure up to the time of his assassination. Now one of our preeminent authorities on Lincoln charts his rocky road from obscure western politician to national icon. In Lincoln Seen and Heard, Harold Holzer probes the development of Lincoln's image and reputation in his own time. He examines a vast array of visual and documentary sources to demonstrate the president's impact both on the public and on the historical imagination, enabling us to see the man from Illinois as his contemporaries saw him. Holzer considers a wide range of images-prints, portraits, political cartoons-to reveal what they say about Lincoln. He shows the ways in which Lincoln was depicted as Great Emancipator and as commander in chief, how he was assailed in cartoons from both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, and how printmakers both memorialized and capitalized on his assassination. Sharing dozens of historic reproductions, Holzer writes with unabashed enthusiasm as he unravels the symbolic meaning and the message of these images and explains their relation to political and military events of the time. Holzer also takes a closer look at Lincoln's oratory, the words of a man often ridiculed for his homespun manner of speaking. He shows how Lincoln's choice of words in the Emancipation Proclamation was actually designed to minimize its humanitarianism and argues that the story of his failure at Gettysburg has been unfairly exaggerated. Through this provocative collection, Lincoln emerges not only as a leader dependent upon his public image but also as an active participant in its development. Lincoln Seen and Heard helps us distinguish man from myth, while offering a superb introduction to the work of one of our most provocative Lincoln scholars.
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- ID: 9780700610013
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