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This month, we not only celebrate the inauguration of the first black U.S. president to his second term, on Jan. 20, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Jan. 21,  but we also mark the 150th anniversary of the date the Emancipation Proclamation was issued,  Jan. 1, 1883. The order declared all those enslaved in the territories then in rebellion “forever free,” setting the nation on a course to end slavery for good.

Of course, no one could fully enforce the proclamation during the rebellion, but as the Union Army advanced and took control of areas of the South, it emancipated men, women and children it found held in slavery. Many others escaped on their own to run behind Union lines for protection.

While the order had little effect in most of the Confederacy until the Civil War ended and the 13th Amendment was ratified, outlawing slavery in December 1865, Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the proclamation was a historic moment nonetheless.

That makes this a fitting time to look at books about Lincoln’s time. offers many books on related topics that can serve as resources for classes. Here are some titles from our publishers available at discount prices on our Website at

Lincoln’s Moral Vision: The Second Inaugural Address, by James Tackach, $22.50 (List Price: $25, University of Mississippi Press, November 2002, ISBN: 9781604733839, pp. 208.

Lincoln’s second inaugural address  on March 4, 1865, was delivered as the Civil War was coming to an end and only 41 days before he met his own end. As his last major speech, it reveals much about his evolution on the issues of race, slavery and religion. In this book, James Tackach, a professor of English at Roger Williams University, argues that it is Lincoln’s most important statement of his thinking at the end of his presidency.


Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front, by Timothy B. Smith, $36, (List Price: $40), University of Mississippi Press, April 2010, ISBN: 9781604734294, pp. 304.

Union forces assaulted Mississippi in the Civil War in siege after siege, culminating in the humiliating surrender of the Confederates at Vicksburg, July 4, 1863. This book makes the case that, in the face of such a formidable enemy, the white population lost the will to fight back and Union sympathizers stepped into the void to bring down the old order. The author teaches history at the University of Tennessee at Martin and is the author of two previous books about the Civil War.


Empire and Slavery in American Literature, 1820-1865, by Eric J. Sundquist, $22.50 (List Price: $25) University of Mississippi Press, April 2006, ISBN: 9781578068630, pp. 224.

Two streams of American literature emerged before the Civil War:  One dealing with the national obsession for expanding frontiers and one dealing with the pros and cons of slavery. The author juxtaposes them, tracing the emergence of our national image. A reviewer on H-net Online said: “He offers scholars a wealth of little-known texts placed in contexts that illuminate their value to global, postcolonial, multiethnic, and national discourses …His approach contributes to an understanding of the interrelation of voices across regions, races, cultures, and communities.” Eric J. Sundquist is the UCLA Foundation professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles and the author of several other books.


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