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I found this book to be a very timely read Accustomed as we are to the notion of the press as ideally being impartial reporters and indefatigable seekers of the truth, Fox News and three billion in earned media promotion seems completely out of the ordinary After reading this book, it doesn t seem to be novel in the context of the mid 19th century American press described by Holzer.What I enjoyed best about this book is its portrayal of how astutely Lincoln was able to manage press coverage and to shape it to his ends His discussion of how actively the press seeked patronage sheds valuable light on the time that Lincoln spent during the Civil War supplicants for patronage It illustrates an aspect of Lincoln that John Hay called The Tycoon.The most difficult aspect of this book was its length Had the prose not been very readable, completing it would have been a daunting task. I found the book very boring and I like books on American presidents and history Maybe a professional historian would like the book but I found it unreadable.I think the problem with the book is that it tries to be all things to all people It does not have a focus or point of view It does not tell a story Instead it throws massive unrelated amounts of information at the reader Some of the information is interesting but it does not stop the book from being dull and hard to read.For a book about Lincoln, big chunks of the book are about the press Some readers might think this is a good thing but I found that it made the book overly complex and confusing However, the book did bring out one interesting piece of information that in Lincoln s time nothing it was not seen as wrong for the press to be openly partisan and for members of the press to get government appointments in exchange for favorable press.In regards to LINCOLN and the press, the book focused on three themes.1 Lincoln himself dabbled in journalism2 Lincoln was good at public relations with the press3 There was a lot of restrictions on the press some people would say censorship of the press during the Civil War this is what I thought the book would be about There are questions about what Lincoln s role was in putting restrictions on the press.I think the book would have been better reading if it focused on one of these aspects of Lincoln and the press Instead, the book throws massive amounts of information at the reader It is a very dry book. This book is for the serious reader Well researched and creatively conceived, it traces the influence of the newspaper on young Lincoln, and then follows its role in his emergence as a politician, as a contender for the presidency, and later the complicated relationship between Lincoln and the press during the American Civil War It raises thorny, thoughtful issues regarding censorship when do we hold the First Amendment dearest above all, and when may its authority be abrogated for the security and integrity of the Union My thanks and gratitude go to Net Galley and Simon and Schuster, who gave me a DRC and let me read it free.It starts a bit slow, and I began wondering whether this would be one of those rare books that I skim and then review, as opposed to reading every word Still LINCOLN I stayed the course and was rewarded Just be aware that the narrative doesn t really wake up until about the 30 percent mark.Lincoln had amazingly little formal schooling Though this was common among pioneer families at the time, with settlements sparse and young males needed to help with a tremendous amount of hard physical labor, but knowing not only that he became US president, but that he was an attorney before that, I was surprised to learn that most of his reading skills were obtained by reading every single newspaper he could get his hands on, no matter how old it was by the time it made its way to Illinois, which was then considered the northwestern USA A sister later recounted seeing him turn a chair over and lean against it while he sat on the floor and used the firelight to read by How many people are sufficiently motivated today to teach themselves reading skills through this sort of very difficult total immersion He later fed his newspaper habit by becoming postmaster, and he used this office to read the newspapers being sent by mail before they were delivered to their intended recipients He would later use the franking privilege bestowed upon postmasters to send out his own campaign materials free of charge Newspapers were tremendously influential, approaching the zenith of their importance during this time There was no radio or any other media to spread the news of the nation besides word of mouth Litigation for libel or slander had not yet blossomed, and so newspapers were often very loose with the facts, and this made it all theimportant to read as many of them as possible in order to tease apart truth and rumor.Young Lincoln left home hoping to become a journalist himself He was well known as a gregarious fellow who always had a great story ready for whoever wanted to listen I envision his parents throwing their arms up in the air all that work to be done at home and where is their son Off somewhere talking, talking, talking I also found this tidbit interesting because it contrasts sharply with the haunted and often depressed man he would later become when authority and personal tragedy marked him.As a congressman and also as a frequent writer of freelance articles and letters to editors, Lincoln marked out his position against the extension of slavery early and with great passion He called the war with Mexico for what it was a land grab that would primarily benefit the feudal rulers of the south At one point he even suggested that the attack against US citizens by Mexican soldiers was a hoax, demanding to know exactly where on the map this had occurred Folks in Washington DC, Illinois, and even New York sat up and took notice.Holzer also traces the beginnings of the most notable newspaper publishers of the time The unfortunate Elijah Lovejoy is dispatched with haste, just as he was in life Greeley, the bootstrap newsman and fervent abolitionist, at least most of the time, at first spurned Lincoln For most of both of their careers, they had a strong working relationship, but Greeley was both quixotic and a bit unstable, and he turned on Lincoln at some pivotal times, most noteworthy when the latter was running for re election Bennett, founder of the Herald and innovator of a number of the institutional practices that are still in place today, was conservative politically and represented Manhattan s pro secessionist, pro slavery majority Raymond was Lincoln s most steadfast supporter and campaign manager the second time around, though he wavered for a brief but terrible time when the tide seemed to turn in favor of the Copperhead Democrats, who wanted to give the secessionist states independence in order to end the war.In the land of Dixie, there was no debate about Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and the press newspapers who even hinted at Union sentiments were quickly suppressed without qualm Despite Lincoln s suspension of Habeas Corpus and at times the suppression and or closure of newspapers that either leant aid to the enemy by publishing battle plans before the fights had taken place, or by less overt and thereforecontroversial antiwar editorials, he won his office in a fair fight, not attempting to tamper with the electoral process or outlaw the printed word that ran in favor of McClellan, a former general whom this reviewer regards as a treasonous scoundrel.I confess it gave me a good deal of food for thought I was a child during the 1960 s and a teen during the 1970 s, but I recall well the controversy regarding free speech, the Vietnam War, and Nixon s enemies list If I am in favor of free speech and press during contemporary times, why should it have been different during the Civil War But I eventually concluded that it was indeed different, and the exasperation of General Sherman toward the press that gave away critical secrets all in the interest of a scoop and the bottom line was entirely correct.But that s just one reviewer s opinion If you are willing to devote the time and attention this tome demands, you are sure to come away with a viewpoint of your own.To those interested in the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, or the history of the American newspaper, highly recommended. Whilst I do want to join the masses for a moment and comment on the massive amount of information the author gathered for this book and compliment him on choosing a different focal point than any other Lincoln non fiction I have read before, I also thought this book was exorbitant in length and at times seemed to simply be a scattered and disjointed recount of Lincoln facts Harold Holzer is an expert, and writes from a scholarly standpoint This is wonderful for those who have a scholarly or professional interest in the subjects he writes about, but for the general public, I think this book may be a bit overwhelming The sheer amount of information about Lincoln that is out in the world for grabs makes it hard to narrow down what to include, I would imagine, and I believe I saw that here I was very interested in the sections of the book that dealt with the manipulation of the press and Lincoln s rise to success, but there were many other portions of this book that I did not feel supported the original concept Overall this was very informative, was well written and impeccably researched and was up to the high standard we have come to expect from Harold Holzer It isn t a book you want to take on unless you have time to really devote yourself to it I regret that I was not able to spendtime looking up things that Mr Holzer referenced in this book Recommended for those who have a serious interest in Lincoln This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley All opinions are my own. As with all of Holzer s Lincoln scholarship, this is excellent My full review for Roll Call is here I received an advanced copy of this book through a goodreads giveaway and I was very excited to get my hands on it early I must say that the book is interesting and well written, but I have a few critiques of it as well The book is massive not counting the notes and bibliography pages it has about 750 pages or so of reading material This is what causes the book to become bogged down in its own scholarship Holzer is to be commended for the countless hours it must have taken to dig up all the facts and stories related in this book, but it left me feeling physically tired after reading the entire book The first part of the book around 300 pages or so deals mostly with the lives and back stories of the major newspapermen of the time Lincoln s role in the entire book comes around this time as well, and this is where it becomes most interesting We learn how Lincoln would use his political connections to control the press and what was written about him, and we also learn that Lincoln dabbled in the newspaper industry as well I recommend this book, but also caution the reader that if you wish to read the entire work it will take considerable time unless you are quite the quick reader Thanks for the advanced copy Lincoln and the Power of the Press The War for Public Opinion was an interesting, indepth study, and at the same time a thorough scholarly work not for the common man It may be a tough read for the casual reader, history or even civil war buff Since I count myself among that group, I thought it d be helpful to write a review from that perspective, while still appreciating the level of professional scholarship entailed.I m paraphrasing here, but as they ask in the research world, did this add anything unique or of substance to what s already there While there has been of course a lot written about Lincoln, and I m far from expert, but it would seem to me the answer to this is a yes While I assume much of the info has been presented in different places before, it took Harold Holzer to collect, organize and present it from this perspective And I appreciate that Holzer focused on the press side of things just as much as on Lincoln and his relationship with it.It was certainly well researched 90 pages of notes for the 585 pages of text, and a 33 page biblio Since I m not an expert, I cannot attest to the accuracy of all the info, but just the analysis, interpretations and conclusions were credible and insightful And I appreciate that it focused on the press just as much as Lincoln and his relationship with it With all the info, it was tough to make sense of it all, and Holzer does a decent job with pointing out in an organized coherent manner the multiple interrelationships, connections and relevances However, he does falter sometimes over the length of it, getting bogged down, elaborating too much, and bringing in seemingly extraneous info Thus, despite Holzer s descriptive storytelling style and the occasional illustration that generally kept me engaged, there were times that it was slow going, mundane and even boring.My impression is that this is a contribution to not only the professional scholarship about Lincoln, but also to broader presidential, political and journalism scholarship And while it is not an easy read, it was also certainly interesting for thiscasual history buff 3.5 stars I m excited to have won this as a Goodreads First Read so thanks, Simon Schuster *READ EPUB ⇯ Lincoln and the Power of the Press ⇧ Harold Holzer Makes A Significant Contribution To Our Understanding Of Lincolns Leadership By Showing Us How Deftly He Managed His Relations With The Press Of His Day To Move Public Opinion Forward To Preserve The Union And Abolish Slavery From His Earliest Days, Lincoln Devoured Newspapers As He Started Out In Politics He Wrote Editorials And Letters To Argue His Case He Spoke To The Public Directly Through The Press He Even Bought A German Language Newspaper To Appeal To That Growing Electorate In His State Holzer Shows Us Politicized Newspaper Editors Battling For Power, And A Masterly President Using The Press To Speak Directly To The People And Shape The Nation This is a hard book to rate If it were written differently, I would have given it 5 stars It is a hard read When I finished reading the book I still didn t quite know why it was written or what was its purpose Was it a story about Lincoln or about the power of the press Was it a book about three great editors or the relationship between Lincoln and the press The author jumped back and forth throughout the book with the time line of history One moment you are reading about Lincoln s early life, the next the civil war He includes the names and stories about 100 s of different newspaper men, editors and various newspapers I found myself going back and forth trying to figure out who the author was referring to and who was saying what Nonetheless, the book was very interesting, in fact, fascinating You see a different side of Lincoln that reveals arealistic, positive Lincoln It was a hard read but well worth the time and effort. This book scratches an itch for me where biography of a particular individual intersects with the larger, longer term currents of culture, media technology, and business Lincoln is only one of the individuals shaped by and impacting the world described by this work, but he exhibits his seminal combination of sagacity and pragmatism as these trends evolve.