Lincoln’s Selected Writings



Edited by David S. Reynolds.  New York: W. W. Norton, 2014.

The only book that features a wide range of Lincoln’s writings along with commentary on him by his contemporaries and interdisciplinary analysis of him in recent times.

** “Belongs on every serious reader’s bookshelf.” 

David S. Reynolds introduces, edits, and annotates a rich selection of Lincoln’s public and private letters, speeches, eulogies, proclamations, debate transcriptions, addresses, and more—from Lincoln’s earliest days to his last. Lincoln’s writings are followed by contemporary responses to him by Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Victor Hugo, Karl Marx, and many others. “Modern Views” offers fifteen interpretations of Lincoln’s life, work, and legacy by major historians and critics, including James McPherson, Eric Foner, Sean Wilentz, Robert A. Ferguson, and Harold Holzer.

Now available in both print and e-book formats.

With a preface, notes, chronology, and bibliography.

“Edited by the respected literary historian David S. Reynolds, the volume represents the high-water mark of the literary Lincoln….By including a wide range of sources, Mr. Reynolds invites us to see the nation’s greatest president as one of its greatest writers”

   –John Harpham, The Wall Street Journal

*The Perfect Gift: Every year we are met with a fresh cascade of books on Abraham Lincoln, that source of fascination for scholars and all Americans. A good one this year is David S. Reynolds’s Lincoln’s Selected Writings. There are several older single volume collections that are very good but this one has an outstanding selection. The best feature though are collections of contemporary and modern writings about Lincoln. The contemporary selections include some by Walt Whitman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Karl Marx. Modern excerpts include some by Carl Sandburg, Allen C. Guelzo, James McPherson, and other outstanding Lincoln scholars.” –Maurice Cunningham, WGBH (PBS/NPR affiliate in Boston); MassPoliticsProfs blog. 

“David S. Reynolds masterfully presents the most broad-ranging and revealing array of documents by or about Lincoln to appear in a single volume..”

— Alan Taylor, Distinguished Professor, University of California-Davis, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

                           Table of Contents and Preface

                       David S. Reynolds Published Interview

                            David S. Reynolds Video Interview

                             Purchase the Paperback     Purchase the Ebook


“Here are the essential words of our most important President, edited by one of the leading scholars of nineteenth-century America…Offers profound insight on every page.”

— Edward Ayers, President, University of Richmond

“This book is a unique and remarkable achievement, and in producing it David S. Reynolds has performed a major public service.”

— Bruce Levine,  J. G. Randall Distinguished Professor, University of Illinois, author of The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution that Transformed the South

“No one has managed a more thorough job than David S. Reynolds of bringing the most important of Lincoln’s documents together in one volume, while adding the usefulness of contemporary commentary and scholarly interpretations. Perfect for the classroom; delightful for any reader.”

— Allen Guelzo, Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era Director, Civil War Era Studies Program Gettysburg College, Department of History

**“David S. Reynolds’s wonderful anthology offers an extraordinarily illuminating portrait of our greatest president.  Lincoln’s Selected Writings belongs on every serious reader’s bookshelf.”

— Peter S. Onuf, University of Virginia, Emeritus, and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation [Monticello]; Author of Jefferson’s Empire: The Language of American Nationhood

“David S. Reynolds’s excellent selection from Abraham Lincoln’s writings helps us take the full measure of Lincoln’s principled cunning as well as his eloquence.  Together with excerpts from contemporary and classic scholarship, it is now the best starting point for serious study of Lincoln the man as well as the politician and president.”

— Sean Wilentz, Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor of History, Princeton University, Department of History

“This expansive but carefully curated array of writings by and about Abraham Lincoln provides readers with an excellent source from which to draw in seeking to come to grips with the most eloquent and philosophically serious President Americans have had thus far.”

–Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

“From now on this will be the single volume of Lincoln documents that all interested in the sixteenth president and U.S. history in general will embrace.”

–William J. Cooper, Jr,. Boyd Professor, Louisiana State University, Department of History

“Indispensable: a selection of Lincoln’s letters, speeches, proclamations and eulogies that captures his distinctive voice in all its extraordinary flexibility.  And also included in this fine volume is Reynolds’ perspicacious, broad-ranged collection of responses to Lincoln by his contemporaries as well as by present-day historians and authors.  A wonderful assortment, singular and significant.”

— Brenda Wineapple, Author of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877.

“If you want to learn about the conflict between the North and the South, the Civil War, emancipation, and the evolution of Abraham Lincoln as a politician and a committed foe of slavery, you now have no better resource than Lincoln’s Selected Writings. David S. Reynolds has done teachers and students an invaluable service by compiling the most important writings of America’s greatest president and supplementing them with the views of both his contemporaries and modern scholars.”

–Barry Bienstock , Martin Sokolow Chair in History, Horace Mann School

“The best way to know Lincoln is through his writings; the next-best way is to consult what perceptive contemporaries and historians said about him. David S. Reynolds has judiciously chosen examples from both to create an unusually well rounded picture of America’s greatest statesman.”

–Michael Burlingame, Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies,
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences , University of Illinois Springfield

Amazon: Lincoln NCE Reaches Rank #1 in American Literature Texts 

Amazon: Lincoln NCE Reaches Rank #1 in U. S. History Texts 

Lincoln Lore – David S. Reynolds Interview

Wall St Journal Review of Lincoln’s Selected Writings


David S. Reynolds on C-SPAN, “The Lincoln Assassination: Cultural and Literary Contexts,” May 3, 2015.

David S. Reynolds on The John Batchelor Show, WABC national radio, interview about Lincoln’s Selected Writings, April 15, 2015.

David S. Reynolds interviewed about Lincoln’s Selected Writings, National Public Radio., “The Daily Circuit” – Minnesota Public Radio, November 13, 2014.

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