Unlike most works on Abraham Lincoln, these two books by Thomas DiLorenzo tell the whole truth about a president who instigated and presided over the most brutal and unjust war in American history. DiLorenzo’s first book, The Real Lincoln, created a virulent firestorm of criticism by Lincoln scholars and admirers when it was first published in 2002, and a great deal of venom was (and continues to be) directed at the author, who is an economics professor at Loyola University in Maryland. Using his knowledge of American economic history, he explored this often neglected aspect of the war and its causes, as well as Lincoln’s unconstitutional acts, his suppression of legitimate dissent (including the imprisonment of thousands of Northern citizens without due process), and his prosecution of a ruthless scorched earth warfare in the South. As the title suggests, The Real Lincoln lays out the evidence that he was not the hero most Americans have been taught to revere, but rather that he was, as Dr. Clyde Wilson described him, “a fraud that has poisoned America’s understanding of itself.”
DiLorenzo’s next book, Lincoln Unmasked, deals with many of the same matters, as well as the cult of Lincoln worship promulgated by so many historians. This book is shorter, more concise, and perhaps a better place to start for many readers, especially those unfamiliar with the subject.
Along with Charles Adams’ When in the Course of Human Events, DiLorenzo’s two books on Lincoln are among the most important works about the War Between the States written so far this century. In his book, Adams, a tax historian, explores the economic causes of the war, especially the issue of the tariff. Like DiLorenzo, he also deals with the brutal manner in which the war was waged, and is one of the few historians to point out the genocidal aspects of the War Between the States, noting that among the Radical Republicans, there was much “bloodthirsty rhetoric” and even calls for “the extermination of the Southern people—every man, woman, and child!”
All these books are still in print and readily available new or used.