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Garry Wills

December 2023
1min read


As a freshman in high school (adolescence is the perfect time for this task), I read through Carl Sandburg’s Lincoln volumes. That of itself would not have hooked me—I read Walter Scott in those days too—but in the midst of Sandburg’s goo, which I confess I still like, I came across Lincoln’s own words from the 1838 Lyceum speech: “what invading foemen could never do, the silent artillery of time has done.” Wow, I thought, “the silent artillery of time.” This President could write better than his poet-biographer. It was an impression that has been strengthening in me ever since.

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