The Bottom Line
- Debunks some persistent Lincoln myths
- Provides copious research material
- Great research for novice or expert on Lincoln
- A serious book that's also great fun to browse
- Not a narrative biography
- Doesn't cover the entirety of Lincoln's life
- The book does demolish some cherished myths
- Good place to begin reading about Lincoln
- Provides a wealth of factual material about Lincoln
- Gives the reader valuable suggestions for further reading
Guide Review - Did Lincoln Own Slaves? by Gerald J. Prokopowicz
Historian Gerald J. Prokopowicz has written a book organized thematically, with each chapter being a series of questions. For instance, the title itself, Did Lincoln Own Slaves? is dealt with, as are a myriad of other queries which often get to the heart of the myth and reality surrounding Lincoln.
The best part of the book is that while it's a prodigious example of fact checking, it also happens to be enormously entertaining.
Some readers, if they are looking for a narrative biography detailing the great man's life, may be disappointed. But it's hard to imagine anyone who loves history not being enlightened and vastly amused by the book.
Prokopowicz poses the questions, many of which will sound at least vaguely familiar, and answers them factually, although often with a strong dose of wry humor. He also cites sources extensively, including notes for further reading at the end of each chapter. Indeed, the book would be worth its price simply for the suggested readings he provides at the end of each chapter. Anyone truly interested in Lincoln could derive a reading plan for at least a year or two from those pages.
As America celebrates Lincoln's bicentennial, many books on the 16th president will be launched. This is one that takes an unusual approach, but delivers its intended material very well.