Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. Lasting just over two minutes, Lincoln’s call for human equality resonates in timeless fashion. Despite its prominent place in U.S. history, both the speech itself, and the circumstances surrounding it are shrouded in mystery. For example, did you know that there are numerous versions of the address, and no one is quite certain which one is the genuine article? Or that Lincoln may have been suffering from Smallpox at the time? In any case, the resources listed below are meant to flesh out reader understanding of this powerful polemic, by exploring both the circumstances and thought that informed its creation.
The Gettysburg Gospel by Gabor Boritt
“As a nation and as individuals, we return again and again to Abraham Lincoln and his stunning address — for a sense of unity, conscience, and meaning. No one has parsed those magnificent sentences or that remarkable man as well as Gabor Boritt.”
— Ken Burns
Lincoln at Gettysburg by Gary Wills
“Dazzling . . . Wills is at his best, and his best may be the best that has ever been written about the Gettysburg Address as literature. Boldly revisionist and intoxicatingly original.”
— Chicago Tribune