Civil War Talk Radio: November 3, 2006

Air Date: 110306
Subject: Michael Burlingame: King of the Lincoln Researchers
Book:  Abraham Lincoln: A Life
Guest: Michael C. Burlingame

Summary: Dr. Michael Burlingame has made a reputation as an indefatigable researcher of previously unmined collections related to Abraham Lincoln. He has edited numerous reprints of 19th century Lincoln sources, written the controversial The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln, and is at work on a monumental four-volume Lincoln biography.

Brett’s Summary: Gerry is understandably impressed with Burlingame’s research on Abraham Lincoln.  Burlingame now has a massive two volume (rather than the stated four volume) biography of Abraham Lincoln out at the time I listened to this show (April 2009).  Burlingame and Prokopowicz discuss numerous aspects of Lincoln’s life, including Burlingame’s dislike of Mary Todd Lincoln and Robert Lincoln.  I especially found interesting Burlingame’s conclusion that the letter reputedly written by Lincoln to a woman who had lost five sons in the war (and subsequently used in Saving Private Ryan in a different war) was actually written by one of his secretaries.  Burlingame did this by looking at a few words such as “beguile” which didn’t strike him as particularly Lincoln-like.  He could find not one single use of the word by Lincoln in everything else he wrote which survives today, but found the word 20 times in letters and other pieces of written work by his secretary.

Civil War Talk Radio airs most Fridays at 12 PM Pacific on World Talk Radio Studio A. Host Gerry Prokopowicz, the History Chair at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, interviews a guest each week and discusses their interest in the Civil War. Most interviews center around a book or books if the guest is an author. Other guests over the years have included public historians such as park rangers and museum curators, wargamers, bloggers, and even a member of an American Civil War Round Table located in London, England.

In this series of blog entries, I will be posting air dates, subjects, and guests, and if I have time, I’ll provide a brief summary of the program. You can find all of the past episodes I’ve entered into the blog by clicking on the Civil War Talk Radio category. Each program should appear either on or near the date it was first broadcast.

Check out more summaries of Civil War Talk Radio at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.

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