The Library of America's collection of original Lincoln source documents in two volumes is a wonderful addition to the library of any person interested in this portion of American history. The two volumes represent the best scholarship available today in terms of organizing and duplicating Lincoln's own words as they are found in personal letters, speech transcriptions, notes, memos, and other forms of written communication. This is a collection that is a fascinating look at the inner thoughts of Lincoln as he progresses from a congressional candidate in the 1850's, then as a candidate for President in 1860, and then as he prosecutes the war of the states until the time of his assassination.
The Library of America represents a rare and welcome to the world of print publishing. Funded from a continuous trust that is structured to keep every single volume perpetually in print, the Library prints only on the finest paper, using only the best inks, and implementing the best binding technology available. These books are true library quality, with ultra-high quality paper from Germany and bindings from the Netherlands, and truly represent the finest book quality typically seen in today's book world. The perpetual trust of the Library nevertheless keeps the price of these volumes at a reasonable level, with most volumes available between $20 and $40 dollars. Once you handle one, you'll undoubtedly see what a real value this series represents.
Lincoln's writings and recorded speeches are incredibly interesting to read. These works provide remarkable insight into this most unusual of people, and posterity is pleased that so much of these items were saved and eventually collated for later review. Can we make ourselves belief that this is largely a self-educated man who writes English prose at a level rarely seen even in the most educated of individuals? Following the logic posed in many of these letters, coupled with the piecing insights into human nature that Lincoln seemed to exude, can give us an experience that extends our thinking and challenges our views. Because Lincoln is canonized in history, we really don't understand the real man all that well. These personal writings of Lincoln help de-mystify the true person behind the persona, and make us see the man, not just the legend.