We had the great Lincoln scholar Allen Guelzo high on our list for the Power Line 100 Best Professors in America even before many of you wrote to suggest him, and as Allen made a tiny bit of news this week (along with a timely poem—who knew?) his early inclusion became obvious.
Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce III professor of the Civil War at Gettysburg College who first burst on the scene with his terrific book Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President. More recently he followed up with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, and, just last year, Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction. He actually made a little bit of news this week when Midwest weather woes complicated his trip to be the keynote speaker at Wesleyan University’s Founders’ Day Convocation. More relevant, perhaps, is his recent review in the Wall Street Journal of the new John Burt book Lincoln’s Tragic Pragmatism, which contests Harry Jaffa in trying to make Lincoln into a Rawlsian. Burt’s book is very good (I’m reading it now), but Guelzo isn’t buying it. Neither am I.
More interesting, since today is Day 1 of the End of the World the Sequester, is the poem he posted on Facebook earlier this week:
SequesterDay (an Ode in honor of the Sequester, with apologies and obeisances to the Beatles)
When the Federal budget goes pre-pay
And the Tea Party come out to play,
Oh, it’s just like the Y2k.
It was never meant to be this way.
Boehner only planned to feign doomsday.
Instead, it’s now
Why the White House stalls, makes no calls,
No one can say.
But Obama hopes Congress mopes,
Then does it all his way on
The Times and Post will scream and pray
But most of us won’t notice. They
Should have their own
I’ve had the immense pleasure of hearing Prof. Guelzo lecture on a couple of occasions, and there are a lot of his lectures available for viewing on YouTube. But perhaps my favorite is one that features a unique interviewing location: inside Gleaves Whitney’s car (Gleaves calls these his “Roads Scholar” interviews):
By the way, please keep those recommendations coming! You can email them directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.