The author of The Age of Lincoln, historian Orville Vernon Burton culled the thousands of pages of Abraham Lincoln's writings to produce this collection of 29 of his most compelling and revealing pieces. Many are presented unabridged, including Lincoln's speech at Cooper Union in February 1860; his August 1862 letter to Horace Greeley; the Gettysburg Address; and his second inaugural address. Others have been edited down to reveal the essence of Lincoln's beliefs and aspirations, including two decisive debates with Stephen A. Douglas, the Emancipation Proclamation, and his first inaugural address.
"Burton chooses orations and letters that Lincoln composed with persuasive intent. The election speeches he picks represent Lincoln balancing his antislavery convictions and his ambition to win before deeply prejudiced constituencies. The wartime public messages reflect Lincoln's transition from disclaiming abolition of slavery to effecting emancipation, and his public letters defend controversial policies, such as the suspension of habeas corpus. Burton's focus compels him to omit Lincoln's military missives, a defensible decision for introducing readers to Lincoln-on-democracy and one that creates space for examples of private correspondence that express his famed compassion."—Booklist