Tubs and Bottoms

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drewgilpin

Our fair president takes to the pages of The New Republic this week  to review a new book by James M. McPherson, the "dean of Civil War historians," she says. (A reassuring description. If she is going to take her hand off the the University's helm to pick up a pen, at least we know she can't do it without thinking about deans.)

Faust is gentle in the pages where former TNR contributor and fellow Harvard prof James Wood was once known for his ferocity.

In her review, she describes an Abraham Lincoln who entered office facing immense challenges.

"The bottom is out of the tub," Lincoln apparently said. "What shall I do?"

Faust hints that Lincoln's ability to keep the tub from sinking should gives us hope even with the current state of the union. But I wonder, as our endowment leaks and our army retreats from Allston, could Faust's reading of Lincoln could have ramifications closer to home?

Forget about that other power-hungry executive who preceded her, might we be witnessing the dawning of Harvard's war-time presidency?