by Larry Tagg
New York: Savas Beatie, 2009. Pp. xiv, 533.
Illus., notes, index. $32.95. ISBN: 1932714618
Tagg, author of
The Generals Of Gettysburg: the Leaders Of America's Greatest Battle
(2003), takes a look at "the spectacular animosity against Lincoln" during the election of 1860 and his presidency, a matter that, while certainly not news, has not previously been the subject of close study.
The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln
is divided into four parts, from the election of 1860 through Lincoln's inauguration, his first 18 months in office, the issuance and reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation, and the election of 1864, plus a short epilogue, "The Sudden Saint." Generally very well-thought out, accurate, and revealing, Tagg's treatment does tend to suggest that Lincoln's opponents were far more numerous than his friends, when they were actually merely far more vocal; as was the case for more recent presidents -- FDR, Reagan, and Clinton come to mind -- despite often heated rhetoric, Lincoln's enemies do not seem to have seriously eroded his general popularity.
An important book for anyone interested in Lincoln, the Civil War, or in the presidency.