There are times in every nations history that serve as turning points, and the 1863 dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery is one of Americas, largely due to the influence of Abraham Lincolns 256 word speech. Garry Wills puts paid to the notion that Lincoln dashed something off on the train ride to Gettysburg, painstakingly tracing the cultural, literary, historic, and philosophical underpinnings to one of the worlds oratory masterpieces. Wills also analyzes the surviving five drafts of the speech that were written in the Presidents own hand, concluding that the one given to Alexander Bliss is most likely the one from which Lincoln spoke. He also attempts to pinpoint the location of the dias within the cemetery, which was not, as the Park Service contended, at the site of the Soldiers Monument.
Readers searching for information about Lincolns activities on that fateful day will find little of interest in this slim volume, but for those interested in the best known address in American history, Lincoln at Gettysburg fills the bill.