Thursday, January 8, 2009

Win-a-book Wednesday (one day late): "Giants" by John Stauffer

First things first: The winner of last week's book--a well-used copy of "The Simple Living Guide" by Janet Luhrs--is Claudia. Claudia, e-mail me at whattamisaid@gmail.com with your address and the book will be sent to your via USPS Media Mail. Congrats!

This week's offering is a brand new copy of "Giants" by John Stauffer (Hachette Book Group, $30.00), a book that examines the parallel lives of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.
The first major biography to view two of the great leaders of the 19th century as self-made men, written by Harvard University professor John Stauffer, winner of the Frederick Douglass Book Prize. They were the preeminent self-made men of their time. Abraham Lincoln was born dirt poor, had less than one year of formal schooling, and became the nation's greatest president. Frederick Douglass spend the first twenty years of his life as a slave, had no formal schooling – in fact, his masters forbade him to read or write – and became of the nation’s greatest writers and activists. Award-winning scholar John Stauffer describes the dramatic transformations in the lives of these giants during a major shift in cultural history, when men rejected the status quo and embraced new ideals of personal liberty.
No less than Henry Louis Gates says of the book, "John Stauffer's collective biography of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln stands apart from other biographies by focusing on how each man continually remade himself, with help from women, words, self-education, physical strength, and luck. In the process Stauffer gives us the texture and feel--a "thick description"--of the strange worlds that Douglass and Lincoln inhabited. The result is a path-breaking work that dissolves traditional conceptions of these two seminal figures (Lincoln the "redeemer" president, Douglass the assimilationist). He reveals how Douglass towered over Lincoln as a brilliant orator, writer, agitator, and public figure for most of his life. He shows us how words became potent weapons for both men. And he tells the poignant story of how these preeminent self-made men ultimately converged, despite their vastly different agendas and politics, and helped transform the nation."

Hear an insightful interview with the author here. (Find out what Stauffer thinks of President-elect Barack Obama's frequent references to Abraham Lincoln. And learn how our first self-identified black president is like Frederick Douglas. Oh, and did you know that Vice President Dick Cheney now owns "Mount Misery" where a brutal overseer was charged with "breaking" an enslaved Frederick Douglass?)

Enter to win this book by participating in this open thread by Monday, Jan. 12. All names attached to this thread will be entered into a random drawing. The winner will be announced next Wednesday and that person can e-mail me with their mailing address. The book will be sent via USPS Media Mail.

The winner of the book is invited to post a review on What Tami Said.

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