I’ve just returned from the annual Lincoln Forum conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This was the 20th anniversary event, complete with cake. The Forum fills two and a half days with presentations by renowned Abraham Lincoln scholars, great camaraderie, and books. A lot of books. As usual, my bag coming home is filled with new books picked up at the conference bookstore.
This year I tried to restrict my book buying, so the total was only six (yes, only). In addition to all the new books there are opportunities to buy older tomes from Chuck Hand, collector extraordinaire. And then there is the unparalleled Dan Weinberg of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, who always has an amazing showing of Lincoln photos, signed documents, and other artifacts. To this elite group we can add the beautiful sculptures of John McClarey.
Now the books. New additions to my collection include an essay compilation book edited by Frank Williams and a second similar book edited by Joseph Fornieri. I also picked up an edition of Reck’s A Lincoln: His Last 24 Hours and a book on the lost whaling fleet (which had battled the confederate navy and the Arctic during the Civil War). Perhaps the most unique acquisition is a book called Villainous Compounds: Chemical Weapons & The American Civil War by Guy R. Hasegawa. With my scientific background it would almost be blasphemous if I hadn’t bought it (he tells himself, in a rationalizing sort of way).
Having already bought it beforehand, I took advantage of the conference to bring my copy of Harold Holzer’s new book A Just and Generous Nation and had him inscribe it for me. As always, Harold was gracious and generous with his time and expertise. He noted that he wrote the first section of the book (seven chapters) and his co-author, economist Norton Garfinkle, wrote the second section (five chapters) on Lincoln’s economic improvement focus and influence on modern America. I’ll have a review of the book as soon as I finish reading it.
At the end of the year I’ll update on new Lincoln book acquisitions for 2015. And now…it’s on to writing!
David J. Kent has been a scientist for thirty-five years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (now in its 5th printing) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His book on Thomas Edison is due in Barnes and Noble stores in spring 2016.