The literature of the Gettysburg Address tends to fall into one of two extremes. At one end are those books that maintain that Lincoln wrote his speech hastily, even on a scrap of paper on the train en route from Washington to Gettysburg. In this version, Lincoln delivered his remarks to an uncomprehending public, which applauded politely, failing to appreciate his genius. Many of the books that argued this point of view are out of print today, but the myths and legends live on. Boritt's vivid narrative will be filled with colorful, little-known details. It will recreate the events, but it will also assess the significance of Lincoln's remarks and place them in their proper historical context as no book has before, showing how the remarks that were quickly forgotten took on a new life decades later and became the most famous speech in American history.
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