Monday, March 24, 2008

Book Review #8 Did Lincoln Own Slaves and Other Frequently Asked Questions About Abraham Lincoln

In my lifetime I have read a lot of books about Lincoln. Since he is my personal hero (outside of my grandfather and my dad) it is easy for me to find books concerning his life and times. I don't claim to be an expert on Lincoln because I am not one of those "distinguished scholars" who have made a career out of studying the life of "Father Abraham". In fact, I tend to learn something new everytime I read a Lincoln biography or a Lincoln book.

Historian Gerry Prokopowicz is a lesser known Lincoln expert but he is a favorite of mine because of his Civil War Talk Radio Show. His new book "Did Lincoln Own Slaves and Other Frequently Asked Questions about Abraham Lincoln" is the subject of todays blog.

The book itself is organized into twelve chapters which focus on a particular aspect or moment of Lincolns life which is important. For example "Springfield" and "Gettysburg" are chapters but so are "Martyr" and "Rail-Splitter". Prokopowicz worked at the Lincoln Museum in Ft. Wayne Ind. for several years and has researched Lincoln for most of his adult life. He has been around Lincoln tourists so much that he took special not of the questions that they would ask him. These questions usually revolved around urban myths concerning Lincoln or basic facts about his life that people have misunderstood. Each chapter deals with these important questions. For example, the "Gettysburg" chapter asks the now famous questions "Did Lincoln write the Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope?" Gerry then answers that question with historical accuracy and detail. This basically outlines the entire book and its title speaks for itself. By the way, Lincoln did not write the Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope.

The other great thing about Mr. Prokopowicz's book is the sources that he used. Each answer to his questions is cited and this makes the book into a valuable resource. Lincoln has more books written about him than any American in American history and this one would make a great addition to any Civil War Buffs bookshelf. I really, really enjoyed this book and it is a great read for any Lincoln buff or a casual reader who just wants to read a good history book. The wording is not intimeditating and the goal of the book is straight forward.

I do not want to go into further detail because I do not want to ruin any of the answers for the readers of "Did Lincoln Own Slaves?" However here is a listing of a few questions that Prokopowicz answers in his new book:

What did Lincoln do for fun as a young man?

Did Lincoln bribe Congressmen to get them to vote for the 13th Amendment?

Whats the biggest memorial to Lincoln?

Was Lincoln responsible for the income tax?

How did his mother die?

Did Lincoln ever go to college?

If he were alive today what party would Lincoln belong to?

Was Lincoln gay?

What was his shoe size?

Did Lincoln own slaves?

What is the best photo of Lincoln?

Why did Booth shoot Lincoln?

What is the worst photo of Lincoln?

If Lincoln was born in Kentucky then why is Illinois called "The Land of Lincoln"?

These and many more Lincoln questions are throughly disucessed, cited and answers in "Did Lincoln Own Slaves and Other Frequently Asked Questions about Abraham Lincoln" by Gerry J. Prokopowicz

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