Impeachment, the First Time Around »

There’s a new book about Andrew Johnson and his impeachment, and the New York Times has given it a rave review. I’ll have to pick it up, but I might wait to see how the current Constitutional crisis shakes out first. I’m not sure it’ll make for consolatory reading. By February 1868, President Andrew Johnson […]

Courting Mr. Lincoln »

I gave up on fiction a few years ago, but I’m curious about this new book. Lincoln’s live-in friendship with Joshua Speed is a topic I find endearing, and a great novelist can often make fiction feel like real history. (See also: Gore Vidal’s Lincoln.) Abraham Lincoln is irresistible to writers. Historians have delved into […]

American Ulysses »

There’s a new Grant biography for us all to enjoy. American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant is here reviewed very favourably by the Chicago Tribune. Given the fuss and fury of this year’s election campaign, it might be nice to spend 850 pages immersed in the company of a genuinely nice man. (Though […]

Book review: Marching Home »

A new book deals with a subject I’ve been musing on lately: The effects of the war on the social life of postbellum America.  Millions of men coming home – some with severe physical and emotional scars – to a world that was profoundly changed.  This one sounds like a good read. Jordan’s handling of civilian […]

Lincoln’s Men »

Speaking of Hay and Nicolay, I finished an excellent book about the secretaries a few months ago: Lincoln’s Men: The President and His Private Secretaries. It’s a delightful look at the boys who ran the White House and kept Lincoln company in the best and worst moments of his Presidency.  It’s thanks to their labor of […]

‘The Man Who Saved the Union’ »

There’s a new Grant biography out, and this review makes it sound like a worthwhile read. Personally, I’m not sure I need another biography, his memoirs are well written and informative enough to provide me with most of the details of his life worth knowing. I did, though, love this summary of the Grant’s Tomb […]

New Seward Biography »

There’s a new biography of William H. Seward, and it sounds excellent. Seward is presented in a heroic trajectory from snooty jerk to warm, winning statesman. Much as Team of Rivals gave an extensive biography of Seward to the night of his assassination, Kearns Goodwin ends his story with the death of Lincoln. I’m looking […]

RIP, Gore Vidal »

Think what you what of Gore Vidal (and I happen to think very highly of him indeed), but there’s no denying the man had personality. He also, famously, had a way with words, although the only book of his I’ve yet read was the Lincoln novel. By that standard, though, I look forward to reading […]

Co. Aytch »

In recent years, I’ve fallen out of the habit of reading books; I now spend most of my time on Wikipedia.  Now that I’m working (or not working, as is currently the case) from home, I thought it time to rectify this error.  In honor of the sesquicentennial (and as research for the podcast by […]

Class of 1846 »

In researching one of my Podcast topics, I was directed to The Class of 1846, by John C. Waugh, for a quote I needed to verify. As expected, our fabulous library system quickly delivered me a copy. I got the quote I needed, but a quick flip-through reveals a well-written, charming series of vignettes for […]