As the holidays approach, here’s the perfect book for the paranoid and back-handedly philo-Semitic lunatic in your life: Lincoln Über Alles, by one John Avery Emison, which hypothesizes that Nazi Germany may have gotten the idea to ethnically cleanse Jews from the North’s anti-Semitic activities during the American Civil War. (Such, anyway, is the summary in the press release that we were sent; the book’s Amazon page advertises its analysis of “how Abraham Lincoln’s tyrannical presidency paved the way for today’s bloated ‘Leviathan’ government,” and its defense of secession’s “legality.”)
The notion of Union anti-Semitism has some truth. In 1862, General Grant issued his heinous General Order No. 11, effectively expelling all Jews in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky under the pretense of shutting down the cotton black market. An outcry prompted Grant to quickly revoke it and deny responsibility; President Lincoln, meanwhile, thoroughly condemned it. The notion that Nazi lebensraum policy traces its roots here is—to use the historically rigorous word—insane.
Still, we appreciate Emison’s sensitivity to the plight of those Southern Jews, to say nothing of the Nazis’ victims. We’re left wondering only why his heart does not also bleed for, you know, the millions of slaves.