September 09, 2011

SIU Press new series dishes Lincoln in small bites

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Nearly every title in a new book series from SIU Press begins, “Lincoln and…”

And that’s what the series is about, mostly.  The “Concise Lincoln Library” is a series of books -- short, concise books -- covering various topics, issues and ideas relating to Abraham Lincoln.

SIU Press, based at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and affiliated with both the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses, is a major publisher of Lincoln and Civil War related books, among other subjects.  It publishes books both meant for the general public and for scholarly audiences, and both types of readers -- the beginner and the expert -- will, no doubt, find something to hold their interest in this new book series.

The books each concentrate on a particular element of Lincoln’s life and career, promising to bring fresh perspectives to well-known topics, new light to overlooked subjects and thoughtful viewpoints to subjects not yet covered in a book format.  The first four titles, which will be available beginning in September, cover Lincoln and his wife, the 1860 election, the Civil War and Horace Greeley.  Upcoming titles are planned through 2015, so far, and include topics such as Lincoln and religion, the military, statesmanship, his greatest mistakes and his role as hero.

The advantage to these books is that they offer bite-size portions from a sometimes-intimidating smorgasbord of Lincoln materials. By treating individual topics within the greater scope of Lincoln scholarship, each book offers a fresh look at one of the most popular and beloved -- and written about -- American presidents within a particular context.

In his review of the series, William Furry, executive director of the Illinois State Historical Society, wrote, “Knowing Abraham Lincoln is impossible and studying him is like trying to sip from the ‘Fountain of Liberty’ or make tea from the Constitution -- he is not for the faint of heart. But reading SIU Press’s Concise Lincoln Library offers something for every thirst.  Deep drinkers and first-time students of the Civil War and Lincoln studies will come back for more, and this series will more than fill the glass.”

The series is possible in part due to a donation from the Leland E. and LaRita R. Boren Trust.

For more information about this and other books SIU Press offers, visit  The Fall/Winter 2011 catalog is available online and in print now.  SIU Press publishes trade and general interest books, specializing in Lincoln, the Civil War, regional history both for Southern Illinois and Chicago, and the Crab Orchard poetry series, and scholarly books, specializing in theater, film, rhetoric and composition, aviation, botany and Dewey studies (pertaining to American philosopher John Dewey).