Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Historian Striner to Read from New Book, "Lincoln's Way," Sept. 23 at Washington College

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Historian Richard Striner will read from his new book, Lincoln’s Way: How Six Great Presidents Created American Power, and discuss presidential leadership Thursday, September 23 on the Washington College campus. The reading, sponsored by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Sophie Kerr Room of the Miller Library and will be followed by a reception and book signing. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Published by Rowman & Littlefield, Striner’s book explores the power of the U.S. presidency to create sweeping and positive changes throughout the nation and the world. Scheduled for release on September 16, it has earned praise for combining scholarship and depth of knowledge with an engaging and clear style of writing. Blending intellectual history and presidential biography, it creates a valuable lens for viewing the present.

Striner explains how Abraham Lincoln set the stage for America’s global superpower status by using his federal authority in shrewd ways, borrowing from both ends of the political spectrum. It was a powerful, centrist way of leading that was adopted by five subsequent presidents: Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy.

These presidents denounced the idea that government was “always the answer” but did believe it was “sometimes the answer” when it came to necessities. “They believed in the value of coordinated national life—in teamwork,” Striner writes in his introduction.

Lincoln’s Way earned advance praise from two well-known fellow historians and authors, James MacGregor Burns and James M. McPherson. Burns called Lincoln’s Way “an unforgettable book” and “must reading for lovers of American History—a fresh and spirited presentation of some of our greatest leaders, with special emphasis on key ideas, presented in a broad intellectual framework.”

Noting Striner’s “remarkable range of knowledge,” McPherson wrote: “Drawing on a lifetime of scholarship, the author writes with great clarity for a general audience beyond the academy, while at the same time offering original insights that deepen and broaden our understanding of how the government promoted greater justice and equity in the American socioeconomic order during the century from the 1860s to the 1960s.”

Striner’s earlier book, Father Abraham: Lincoln’s Relentless Struggle to End Slavery, was published in 2006 by Oxford University Press. A professor of history at Washington College, he is also is a senior writer for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Committee.

For more information on the reading, visit or call the Starr Center at 410-810-7161.

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