In 1890 Abraham Lincoln's two main White House secretaries, John G. Nicolay and John Hay, published the ten-volume biography Abraham Lincoln: A History. Although the authors witnessed the daily events occurring within the executive mansion and the national Capitol, their lengthy biography is more a recounting of the Civil War era than a study of Lincoln's life. Editor Michael Burlingame sifted through the original forty-seven-hundred-page work and selected only the personal observations of the secretaries during the Lincoln presidency, placing ten excerpts in chrological order in Abraham Lincoln: The Observations of John G. Nicolay and John Hay. The result is an important collection of Nicolay and Hay's interpretations of Lincoln's character, actions, and reputation, framed by Burlingame's compelling preface, introduction, chapter introductions, and tes. The volume provides vivid descriptions of such events as Election Day in 1860, the crisis at Fort Sumter, the first major battle of the war at Bull Run, and Lincoln's relationship with Edwin Stanton and George McClellan. In this clear and captivating new work, Burlingame has made key portions of Nicolay and Hay's immense biography available to a wide audience of today's readers.
Michael Burlingame, Sadowski Professor of History Emeritus at Connecticut College, is the author of The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln and the editor of eleven books about Lincoln, including An Oral History of Abraham Lincoln: John G. Nicolay's Interviews and Essays, winner of the Abraham Lincoln Association Prize. He won the prestigious Lincoln Prize, honorable mention, for his five edited collections of letters, memoranda, editorial essays, lectures, and interviews by Lincoln's White House private secretaries, John G. Nicolay and John Hay, all published by Southern Illinois University Press.