|Book review from author Jay Winik, from The National Review —
"Throughout Lincoln at Peoria, Lehrman shows a journalist's eye for the telling detail. [Stephen A] Douglas spoke with 'polished elegance' while Lincoln spoke with a 'thin, high-pitched' voice. Lehrman also demonstrates a scholar's appreciation for the ambiguities surrounding Lincoln. He quotes one womam's asking upon Lincoln's election, 'Is it certain Mr. Lincoln is an uncompromising anti-slavery man?' And finally, Lehrman keenly appreciates the poignancy of his story: We see Lincoln strolling in Springfield with a colleague in 1849, when the friend ruefully observes, 'Lincoln the time is coming when You & I would have to be Democrats or Abolitionists'.
"Lincoln at Peoria is a marvelous hybrid of a book. Beyond the narrative and an extensive analysis of the speech itself, Lehrman draws out the rest of Lincoln's career, his political resurrection and America's political realignment, the coming of the war and Lincoln's surprise election as president, and his presidency itself, never losing sight of that magical moment at Peoria when Lincoln became Lincoln. Lehrman's editorial hand is light, and he is careful to judge Lincoln by the standards of his own day, rather than of ours. He also goes to great lengths to quote succeeding generations of distinguished Lincoln scholars. In this sense, more than simply a fascinating exegesis, Lincoln at Peoria stands as a rich resource for scholars."