Great Review of our Lincoln Book

Sarah C. from Savas Beatie just sent us a review printing in the NYMAS Newsletter Winter/Spring 2021-222 (page 16). Here it is:

Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg:
The Creation of the Soldiers’ National
Cemetery and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
,
by Bradley Gottfried and Linda Gottfried


There have been many books written on
Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Gettysburg and his
famous address there, but few tie the battle of
Gettysburg and the deaths and burial of over
8,000 soldiers, with the creation of the Soldiers’
Cemetery and the President’s visit and speech. In
Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg, Bradley Gottfried,
the author of many books on the Civil War and
his wife, graphic designer and sculptor Linda
Gottfried, describe the proceedings concerning
the establishment and dedication of the Soldiers’
National Cemetery, concentrating on Lincoln’s
travels and two-day visit to Gettysburg on
November 18- 19, 1863. The book uses text,
anecdotes, and images to explain the founding of
the cemetery, and the ceremony memorializing
the significant actions of the Army of the
Potomac and their consequences.
In the aftermath of the battle in July, Lincoln
was invited to make a few remarks to help
dedicate the new cemetery. He spoke briefly of
the battle, the war, and the founding of the
country with the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution, but primarily of the soldiers
who survived as well as those who died and the
need to complete the task that they had begun, to
restore the nation. His 272 words inspired the
North to bring the war to an end, to preserve and
extend the rule of the people. Even the primary
orator, Edward Everett – who spoke for two
hours — was unable to summarize the issues as
well as Lincoln in his brief address.
No famous speech is shorter than Abraham
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and none has been
analyzed at greater length. Can anything still be
said about the speech that has not already been
said? The answer is yes. The Gottfrieds offer
fresh and stimulating insights on the origins,
meaning, impact, and continuing relevance of the
Address.
Their account unfolds in thirteen short
chapters, providing a blow-by-blow looks at the
circumstances, need, planning for the cemetery,
the leadership and competition between people
such as David Wills and David McConaughy,
who helped create the cemetery, the ceremony
itself, and the writing, reaction, and legacy of the
Gettysburg Address. They offer what is equally a
sympathetic and nuanced story of the individual
human beings who died in the battle and were
buried at the cemetery. The Gottfrieds carefully
intersperse the tale of the establishment of the
cemetery and the dedication with first hand
accounts of the experiences of individual soldiers
and others, thus adding many often thoughtful
details that for this writer brought to life this
crucial moment in our country’s history and
made me think about it in a new way.
Three appendices – Lincoln’s activities at
Gettysburg, the perception of the Address, and a
tour of the cemetery – plus numerous maps and
many illustration which enrich the Gottfried’s
account.
Well written, hard to put down, and an
excellent read. Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg is
among the best volumes in Savas Beatie’s
“Emerging Civil War Series” and is highly
recommended.

Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg: The Creation
of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
, by Bradley
Gottfried and Linda Gottfried. El Dorado Hills,
Ca.: Savas Beatie, 2021. Pp. xii, 182. Illus.,
maps, appends., index. $14.95 paper, ISBN 978-
1-6112-1561-8. –David Marshall

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