An Interview with Harold Holzer

Abstract from Interview

1:38 –Holzer’s book came to be on Booknotes because Brian Lamb saw the book in a bookstore, found it interesting, and contacted Holzer to be on the program.

2:19 – Because he frequently watched Booknotes Holzer did not do much preparation for his interview beyond re-reading his book.

9:14 – Holzer is said to have ignited Lamb’s interest in Lincoln, but Holzer thinks that is not true. Holzer also discussed CSPAN’s recreation of the Lincoln Douglas debates.

13:04 – Holzer thinks that the hour long format is important for the audience to learn more about the subject matter, about writer’s technique, point of view, and biography of the author. For the guest, the hour long format could be difficult because of its intensity and that you have to stay on your game the whole time.

16:12 – The extent to which Lamb read the books was very flattering to the author. This kind of care is not common amongst interviewers or reviewers.

20:20 – Holzer thinks that the people who watch Booknotes are very interested in an author’s process because the audience is such avid readers. Holzer himself has reached out to other authors from the program to get process advice.

22:49 – Holzer was surprised by Lamb asking what his mother did for a living. His mother was upset that he answered “house-wife” and not “home-maker.”

24:41 – Appearing on the show made Holzer more interested in the program.

26:16 – Holzer wishes that authors could be on the program more than once. His most popular and award-winning book was Lincoln at Cooper Union so he would have liked to talk about that book with Lamb. However, because the interview came earlier in his career it was able to help propel him further.

28:22 – Holzer thinks the bare set made it more private, as if it was just a conversation between Lamb and the author.

30:17 – Holzer thinks that the advantage of the Booknotes collection is in its historiographical possibilities.

32:46 – After appearing on Booknotes there was not an immediate change in book sales, but Holzer thinks the appearance affected long-term sales.

33:28 – Appearing on Booknotes made Holzer more aware he should be keeping track of his process.

36:04 - Lincoln at Cooper Union is the work Holzer is most proud of, but he is also pleased with how two other Lincoln books came out.

41:41 – Holzer thinks that Booknotes helped to create a sustained interest in history books.

44:20 – Booknotes was life changing for his life and career. CSPAN remains a primary forum for authors and interested audiences to come together. Brian Lamb is a great leader in the connection between broadcast and books.


Misha Griffith (Oral Historian) , “An Interview with Harold Holzer,” One Book. One Author. One Hour., accessed February 2, 2023,



Output Formats

Dublin Core


An Interview with Harold Holzer


Misha Griffith (Oral Historian)


19 June 2014


uthor Harold Holzer is interviewed as part of the Booknotes Oral History Project on 19 June 2014. Mr. Holzer discusses his appearance on C-SPAN's Booknotes program on 22 August 1993, where discussed his book "The Lincoln Douglas Debates".


Booknotes (Television program)
Lamb, Brian, 1941-
C-SPAN (Television network)


Booknotes Oral History Series. R0143 Box 01 File 10


George Mason University Libraries


Copyright held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.


Video recording