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Boritt's "Gettysburg Gospel" is a valuable addition to anyone's Civil War or Lincoln bookshelf. Boritt successfully differentiates his work from the thousands, no tens of thousands of others in this genre by focusing on the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, what the participants & observers in the post-battle period did & thought, where the famous dedication ceremony fits, in its time, in the next 20 years &, eventually, in the next 150 years. How Edward Everett's keynote was viewed at the time, and later. How the legend of Lincoln's words was built & continuously reinterpreted in subsequent eras. Boritt is an excellent word painter -- the book is narrative & analytical history, but he pulls the reader (listener) into the story so you hardly notice the minutes ticking by. Boritt's work may not be the very best one on the roots of Lincoln's speech, but it does a good job nonetheless, without bogging the reader down in philosophical & theological discussion.
The final section of the book, a textual analysis of materials from the dedication day, is probably best read in the book itself, or read & listened to simultaneously. This only represents the last 10% - 15% of the audiobook.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
This is an extensively researched and concisely written book. Boritt goes back to countless original sources. He debunks many popular myths about the speech. More important though, he places the Gettysburg Address in its time and place and brings the speech alive.
Boritt also reviews the reactions to the speech, both contemporaneous and over the succeeding century and a half, as well as the uses to which the Address has been, and is still being put.
He also includes Edward Everett's speech at the cemetery dedication, which was quite good in its own right. Without his fuller exposition, the beauty, simplicity and directness of Lincoln's address would not have been possible.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful