Abraham Lincoln is widely considered the greatest president in American history, yet there have always been dissenters from this prevailing veneration. In Loathing Lincoln, Lone Star College historian John McKee Barr offers a comprehensive survey of those who have condemned or simply criticized the 16th president.
Reason readers will probably find Barr's final two chapters most interesting, writes author and economics professor Jeffrey Rogers Hummel. One covers the debate over Lincoln among conservatives from 1949 to 1989—a debate that played out most prominently in the pages of National Review. The other chapter looks at Lincoln's libertarian critics and defenders, including Murray Rothbard and Thomas DiLorenzo on the anti side and Timothy Sandefur on the pro. Yet overall, writes Hummel, Loathing Lincoln would be improved if the author weren't so smitten with Lincoln himself.