The Lincoln Compulsion

A shelf of new books shows why Lincoln remains our most addictive President

U.S. Army Signal Corps

His greatness is a never-ending fascination

When Bennet Cerf, co-founder of Random House, was asked to describe the ideal best seller, he supposedly suggested the title Lincoln's Doctor's Dog. Pitches itself, doesn't it? There have been more books about Abraham Lincoln than any other American; this month brings us William Lee Miller's President Lincoln (Knopf; 497 pages), Allen C. Guelzo's Lincoln and Douglas (Simon & Schuster; 384 pages) and Did Lincoln Own Slaves? (Pantheon; 311 pages) by Gerald J. Prokopowicz, among others. That Lincoln is a suitable subject for scholarly work nobody would deny, but the volume of it suggests something more: an obsession, an addiction, a...

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