Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails: How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War

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9780061129803: Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails: How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War

Abraham Lincoln's two great legacies to history—his extraordinary power as a writer and his leadership during the Civil War—come together in this close study of the President's use of the telegraph. Invented less than two decades before he entered office, the telegraph came into its own during the Civil War. In a jewel–box of historical writing, Wheeler captures Lincoln as he adapted his folksy rhetorical style to the telegraph, creating an intimate bond with his generals that would ultimately help win the war.

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About the Author:

Tom Wheeler is managing director of Core Capital and the author of Take Command: Leadership Lessons from the Civil War. He is chairman and president of the Foundation for the National Archives, a nonprofit organization dedicated to telling the American story through its documents, and a former director of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). He lives in Washington, D.C.

From Booklist:

The Internet has sparked interest in its predecessor, the telegraph (Tom Standage's The Victorian Internet, 1998); here is a case study in the trend. Applying "early adopter" buzzwords to Lincoln, Wheeler's inquiry into his use of the telegraph has the spirit of a management consultant appraising a client's leadership style. The author relates that Lincoln personally sent out 1,000 telegrams during the Civil War, learning along the way what was or wasn't effective. Initially an intermittent user, Lincoln at times was so reliant on rapid communication that he spent nights at the War Department's telegraph office. Every Lincoln reader is familiar with this image, and Wheeler taps into this common memory by quoting Lincoln's telegraphic words on these occasions. They group most numerously around specific battles (e.g., 1862's Second Battle of Bull Run) and Lincoln's reprieves of condemned soldiers. Expanding on this footnote to history, Wheeler shows a Lincoln groping for a best-use of new technology and learning the limitations of the "killer app." Gilbert Taylor
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

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