Sunday, January 11, 2015

Book Review - Lincoln in the World

Another book review and, this time, I am back in my milieu - non fictional (and non speculative) history. This week, I read Lincoln in the World (once again provided by Blogging For Books).

One thing that always puzzled me was why Britain didn't enter the Civil War, since the South provided most of the raw cotton needed by Britain's huge cotton spinning and weaving industry. On the other hand, Britain was also strongly anti-slavery. Had they entered the war defending the South, there is little doubt that the North would lose. So how was this accomplished?

The book, however, has a wider scope, trying to show how Lincoln's foreign views worked through out his career. It includes the French invasion of Mexico and even adds a (very weak) chapter on Marx. Some are intriguing, others puzzling. The French invasion is more properly tied to Jackson (Lincoln could do little more than send a telegram), the Marx chapter does stretch credulity. 

The best part, however, is the entire cast of characters, from Seward (the Foreign Secretary) to Napolèon III, including an interesting and little explored side to Mary Todd Lincoln.

Veredict: well worth the read

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