From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Flood follows Abraham Lincoln's fourth year as president, ranging across matters that arose in his office, in person, or on paper, whether of minor or major importance. Securing his readers' engagement with a detailed account of business Lincoln conducted on January 1, 1864, Flood depicts for them the appearance of Lincoln's workplace, to which access was extraordinarily easy to obtain. Petitioners and their pleas for government posts, for stays of execution, for an autograph parade through Flood's chronicle, as do bringers of tidings connected with the two biggest things on Lincoln's mind during 1864: winning reelection and winning the Civil War. Flood's overall effect shows how contingent each was: he recounts Lincoln's hardheaded electioneering actions involving money, political favors, and sidetracking rivals such as Salmon Chase alongside Lincoln's exercise of his commander-in-chief role. Neither objective was entirely separable, and there's a sophistication in Flood's portrayal that shows how Lincoln's actions to further one furthered the other, as in his furlough of Union soldiers to vote for him. Flood's high-quality historical narrative will capture the Civil War readership.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2008 Booklist
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As 1864 dawned and the Civil War dragged on, war weariness swept the North. President Lincoln was faced with the duel task of turning the war toward a Union victory and being reelected to the presidency. Flood, who has written many previous studies of aspects of the Civil War era (e.g., Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the War), here turns to the personal and public story of Lincoln himself during his last full year of life. Drawing upon extensive primary and secondary sources, Flood weaves a compelling narrative of this brilliant, compassionate, but haunted leader as he deals with political rivals, military commanders, battlefield reverses, and his troubled personal life. Including as it does a mixture of military, social, and political history and many voices from the period, the tale is both engagingly spun and well documented. However, libraries that already have other recent, more rigorously focused books on these ultimate aspects of Lincoln's presidency, such as John Waugh's Reelecting Lincoln: The Battle for the 1864 Presidency, may choose to pass on this one. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/08.]-Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.