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Non-Fiction Book Club to Discuss – "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery" by Eric Foner - Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 6:30PM

The Fiery Trial book cover

In honor of Lincoln’s Birthday, and in recognition of the recent Steven Spielberg film Lincoln starring Daniel Day Lewis, the Non-Fiction book club will discuss on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 6:30PM the 2011 Pulitzer Prize winning history book The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner.

From the bookjacket:

“In this landmark work of deep scholarship and insight, Eric Foner gives us the definitive history of Lincoln and the end of slavery in America. Foner begins with Lincoln’s youth in Indiana and Illinois and follows the trajectory of his career across an increasingly tense and shifting political terrain from Illinois to Washington, D.C. Although “naturally anti-slavery” for as long as he can remember, Lincoln scrupulously holds to the position that the Constitution protects the institution in the original slave states. But the political landscape is transformed in 1854 when the Kansas-Nebraska Act makes the expansion of slavery a national issue.
A man of considered words and deliberate actions, Lincoln deftly navigates the dynamic politics of antislavery, taking measured steps, often along a path forged by abolitionists and radicals in his party. Lincoln rises to leadership in the new Republican Party by calibrating his politics to the broadest possible antislavery coalition. As president of a divided nation and commander in chief at war, displaying a similar compound of pragmatism and principle, Lincoln finally embraces what he calls the Civil War’s “fundamental and astounding” result: the immediate, uncompensated abolition of slavery and recognition of blacks as American citizens.
Foner’s Lincoln emerges as a leader, one whose greatness lies in his capacity for moral and political growth through real engagement with allies and critics alike. This powerful work will transform our understanding of the nation’s greatest president and the issue that mattered most.”

Eric Foner author photo

Historian Eric Foner. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

About the Author:

Eric Foner is DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University and author of many acclaimed works on the Civil War period, including the groundbreaking Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men. His history of Reconstruction, still the standard, won the Los Angeles Times Book Award for History, the Bancroft Prize, and the Parkman Prize. He is a past president of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American historians, and the Society of American Historians.

While you do need to obtain the book yourself this book club is free and open to the public. If you have any questions please email me at Happy reading!