Book by FHSU alumnus defends Lincoln against contemporary attacks from the left and right
07/24/2008

A just-released book by Dr. Thomas L. Krannawitter, assistant professor of Political Science at Hillsdale College in Michigan, defends President Abraham Lincoln from critics on both the left and the right of the political spectrum. Krannawitter is a Hays native and a 1994 graduate of Fort Hays State University.

“Vindicating Lincoln: Defending the Politics of our Greatest President” dispels current theories that allege Lincoln was a racist, a tyrant or the father of big government.

“Many influential authors view Lincoln as an antiquated monument, a man of his age who knew only 19th century prejudices and lacked 21st century enlightenment,” according to the liner notes of the hardcopy edition available from Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. “Other writers denounce Lincoln as a tyrant who trampled upon the Constitution and state’s rights, and thereby inaugurated big government and the kind of politics feared by the Founding Fathers. Krannawitter argues that both views spring from a misunderstanding of Lincoln.”

After debunking the contemporary criticisms point-by-point through the nine chapters of his book, Krannawitter concludes, “Through genuine political education, the kind of education available in the words and deeds of Abraham Lincoln, we can again see with the mind’s eye the heights of human potential and human greatness by seeing the idea of statesmanship.”

Harold Holzer, co-chairman of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, says of “Vindicating Lincoln”: “With literate frankness, emphatic argumentation and an abundance of sophisticated knowledge about Abraham Lincoln and his times, Thomas L. Krannawitter offers a brave, refreshing, counterrevolutionist assessment of our occasionally maligned and misunderstood 16th president. This book reminds us anew of why Lincoln was indeed great, and why so many of the recent books about him are not. Krannawitter has made a bracing, persuasive and uplifting contribution to the literature.”

In the Acknowledgements section of the book, Krannawitter recalls his days as a student at FHSU. “Of the teachers who have most influenced my own intellectual development, the first to mention is my undergraduate instructor and advisor, Paul Basinski, with whom I studied at Fort Hays State University in my home state of Kansas,” Krannawitter writes. “Professor Basinski introduced me to a world I did not know existed before I met him: the world of ideas. Like most American university students, when I first enrolled, I thought school was simply a place to acquire some kind of technical training and job skill. But as Professor Basinski introduced me to the great books of the Western philosophic tradition, I began to understand something of the higher purposes of higher education, purposes we are in danger of forgetting as vo-tech education replaces traditional liberal education.”

“Vindicating Lincoln: Defending the Politics of our Greatest President” is scheduled for general retail release on Aug. 25. In the meantime, it can be purchased on special order from Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Suite 200, 4501 Forbes Blvd., Lanham, MD 20706, (800) 462-6420, www.rowmanlittlefield.com.


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