Abraham Lincoln

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by Carl Sandburg. Harcourt, Brace & Co. 762 pp. $7.50.

Not the least remarkable of Carl Sandburg’s achievements is his success in reducing the six volumes of his massive study of Lincoln to one volume without sacrificing the brooding, poetic and evocative quality that infused the earlier work. The reduction represents a skillful act of revision and rewriting rather than a mere cut-and-stitch job, and the result is a meaty single volume which will be welcomed by many readers who tend to shy away from the lengthier original. Very little has been lost in the condensation: the book is still Sandburg, and Sandburg at his best.