Flood follows Abraham Lincoln’s fourth year as president, ranging across matters that arose in his office, in person, or on paper, whether of minor or major importance. Securing his readers’ engagement with a detailed account of business Lincoln conducted on January 1, 1864, Flood depicts for them the appearance of Lincoln’s workplace, to which access was extraordinarily easy to obtain. Petitioners and their pleas—for government posts, for stays of execution, for an autograph—parade through Flood’s chronicle, as do bringers of tidings connected with the two biggest things on Lincoln’s mind during 1864: winning reelection and winning the Civil War. Flood’s overall effect shows how contingent each was: he recounts Lincoln’s hardheaded electioneering actions—involving money, political favors, and sidetracking rivals such as Salmon Chase—alongside Lincoln’s exercise of his commander-in-chief role. Neither objective was entirely separable, and there’s a sophistication in Flood’s portrayal that shows how Lincoln’s actions to further one furthered the other, as in his furlough of Union soldiers to vote for him. Flood’s high-quality historical narrative will capture the Civil War readership
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