Some months ago I discovered a new book about Lincoln by Michael Lind, What Lincoln Believed: The Values and Convictions of Americas Greatest President. How could I resist, even though I knew the author was on the Left? I got a bitter cup of coffee, hoping for the best. Thirty pages later, appalled at the silliness and inacurracy of the whole thing, I put it back on the shelf, next to two other worthless books on Lincoln. I was right and
James M. McPherson (in The Nation, no less) explains why. Great review. McPherson savages the book. Thanks, professor. By the way, why would the famous Doubleday publish such rubish? Just one paragraph from McPherson regarding some factual things:
Puzzled readers may be forgiven if they come away from this book convinced that Lincolns beliefs were closer to those of the Ku Klux Klan than to those of the NAACP--for that is precisely Linds argument in most of the book. Or perhaps they will conclude that Lind does not know what he is talking about when he maintains that there was no inconsistency between Lincoln the liberal democrat and Lincoln the racist despot. This conclusion would be reinforced by some of the alleged "facts" reported in these pages: that the Northwest Ordinance banned slavery in states (it applied only to territories); that the Dred Scott decision applied to a runaway slave in Ohio; that "most Northern states" in the 1850s banned free blacks from settling therein (only four of eighteen did); that William Seward was Secretary of State in the Grant Administration; that ratification by a simple majority of states could amend the Constitution; and that the Congress elected in 1936 contained 524 representatives and 112 senators (the actual numbers were 435 and 96, respectively).