Lincoln’s Gamble: How The Emancipation Proclamation Changed the Course of the Civil War

Lincoln's Gamble

I received a prerelease e-copy of this book through NetGalley (publication date September  9, 2014) with the expectation that I will post a review on their site and others (my blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, etc.).

I requested this book as I have read a great deal about President Lincoln and the title and description intrigued me. This is the first book by Todd Brewster that I have read.

I found the book well written, documented and easy to read. The author did an excellent job of laying the groundwork for the eventual release of the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln did waver on its content over time and slowly developed the final document after considerable vetting with various individuals including his cabinet and others. Brewster also addressed the mental state of the President during this time and how it impacted the final document.

My only crticism of the book is that certain chapters tended to wander far afield from the subject in the amount of detail that they went into not retlated to the primary subject of the book.  The one on George McClellan is a good example.

I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in understanding more about the thought process of President Lincoln, the development of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War in general.

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About caseywheeler

My interests include: Model trains, Reading, Genealogy, New York Yankees and helping organizations be successful.
This entry was posted in Civil War, Leadership, Presidents and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lincoln’s Gamble: How The Emancipation Proclamation Changed the Course of the Civil War

  1. I have not read Brewster’s book, but I did read his short piece in Salon, here: http://www.salon.com/2014/09/07/obamas_lincoln_problem_which_lincoln_is_he_the_great_orator_or_the_great_obfuscator/. I was not very impressed with his overall interpretation. While he doesn’t rip events and statements out of context (as the neo-Confederates and Libertarians like Thomas DiLorenzo), Brewster’s take is very superficial. In his remarks about Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, for example, he ignores the excellent scholarship of Mark Neely, Jr., who’s “The Fate of Liberty” is a careful, excellent description of just exactly what Lincoln did (and didn’t do) and why. Also, Brewster’s reading of the Greeley letter is careless. He doesn’t seem to be aware of the fact that the Emancipation Proclamation did almost exactly what the letter said. Brewster portrays this as dithering.

    In short, Brewster’s article is a left-ish polemic that’s not very useful as history. I hope the book is better.

    Thanks for the review!

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