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Abraham Lincoln (The American Presidents Series: The 16th President, 1861-1865) Hardcover – December 23, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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“A startlingly original and deeply thoughtful analysis of Abraham Lincoln. If you are looking to read just one book on Lincoln, this landmark gem is the one!” ―Douglas Brinkley
“A dramatically engaging and intellectually stimulating rendering of the life of our greatest president.” ―Thomas J. Knock, Southern Methodist University
“McGovern's Lincoln is a finely wrought gem. In this small volume McGovern captures Lincoln's character and leadership strength better than many weighty tomes. It is a worthy addition to the brilliant American Presidents Series.” ―Doris Kearns Goodwin
“Short and sweet… a well-timed entry in Times Books' presidents series.” ―Boston Sunday Globe
“Abraham Lincoln is an entry in the highly regarded American Presidents series… A fine read for those who want to know about Lincoln but may not have the time for the more in-depth biographies.” ―Bookpage
“Compact and commanding… With considerable skill and insight, McGovern… crafts a biography snappy, clear and comprehensive enough to please general readers, students and scholars alike… he nails the essential strengths, flaws, failures and achievements of America's most revered leader… McGovern's overall depiction is one of a complex, tolerant and extraordinary man who simultaneously preserved the Union and transformed the nation.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“McGovern finds an inspiring lesson in what a man can do with his life. McGovern's Lincoln is a smart, ambitious striver who overcame humble origins, repeated setbacks and spells of depression… when McGovern's lucid homage concludes, ‘We wish our leaders could be more like Lincoln; we wish we all could be,' readers are likely to agree.” ―Publishers Weekly
“In this compact but convincing portrait, [McGovern] assesses Lincoln's greatness in terms of his ability to use his humble origins… faith in American democracy, gifts of language, and personal self-confidence… The biography warrants reading to catch the sense of Lincoln's greatness, both for his own day and ours.” ―Library Journal
“[A] fine préscis… [McGovern] clearly enunciates the great changes that Lincoln and the war began to effect.” ―Booklist
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Top Customer Reviews
McGovern's book is part of the American Presidents series of short biographies of each of our nation's presidents. The late Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was the original editor of the series, which has been carried forward by Sean Willentz. The series offers a way to consider each president, whether famous or little-known, and to reflect upon his accomplishments and on the nature of leadership. Each of the volumes in the series is written by a different scholar in the hope that the writer will bring a unique perspective to bear upon his or her subject. McGovern brings both an extensive political and academic background to his study of Lincoln. McGovern served in the Senate for eighteen years and was the unsuccessful presidential candidate against Richard Nixon in 1972. He also holds a PhD in American history and government from Northwestern University. McGovern acknowledges receiving both research and writing assistance in this book from Larry Mansch of Montana.
McGovern offers a good overview of Lincoln's life and accomplishments. Although he is critical of Lincoln for the suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War and for other infringements of individual liberty, the tone of the book is otherwise highly laudatory. McGovern describes Lincoln as not only our greatest president but also as "certainly more than that." For McGovern, Lincoln is "an unparallelled national treasure, a legend that best represents the democratic ideal".Read more ›
McGovern is a student of history. He has been part of it - as we prepare to honor Abraham Lincoln on the 200th anniversary of his birth this February we are engulfed by Lincoln books, most of them thick and wordy.
Let's cut to the chase. This addition to the wonderfully compact American President's series is one of the best yet (I have read a dozen of them so far). McGovern makes his understated case that Abe Lincoln was our best president and that nobody else comes even close.
We learn about Abe's evolving and conflicted views of slavery and civil war. We discover why the Emancipation Proclamation was his greatest achievement. We hear the magnificent wordsmith, the greatest speech writer ever to occupy the White House, as we wait for the inauguration of another brilliant orator, another slender guy from Illinois, another relative newcomer to politics, and we savor the exquisite irony that Abe Lincoln made Barack Obama possible.
The Introduction, by the late historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. sets the context for the entire series when he says that (Page xv): "The Founders must have sensed [the idea that one branch would have to take initiative] when they accepted Alexander Hamilton's proposition in the Seventieth Federalist that 'energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government." And Abraham Lincoln exercised great energy as President.
The first chapter puts Lincoln in some context, observing that (Page 12): "Perhaps above all else, Americans continue to admire Lincoln's sense of himself. He was a common man who rose to uncommon heights and produced uncommon efforts." His beginning, as most readers know, was humble, growing up poor in Kentucky. The story proceeds with the tale of death in the family, the move to Illinois, Lincoln's early adulthood as he settled in New Salem and, later, Springfield. His early interest in politics began in Illinois.
He began as a Whig, served a term in Congress, and also was elected to the Illinois legislature. In some ways, though, it was a defeat that propelled him to national attention, with the series of Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858. After his loss, Lincoln took the opportunity to make a speaking tour. In doing so, he helped position himself as a fallback candidate for President in 1860 if apparent frontrunners faltered. And, of course, that is what happened.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
gives good background information about what was happening during that time periodPublished 3 months ago by Sandra Schalow
Well-written, interesting, but there's two stories; The image versus the reality. It has both, but you have to read between the lines.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
With all the current books and articles about Lincoln, this was very well written and a great example for this series on the Presidents. Read morePublished 8 months ago by M. Belcher
Arrived on time, in perfect condition and as advertised. This series of books is highly recommended.Published 9 months ago by John Carlton
Well I am in sixth grade and that book is not hard but it is different and this book always jbldcjblcdjbcdjbdcjdcvhdchvxhbcbPublished 10 months ago by good
Not very comprehensive covering the tariffs and other penalties imposed on the South.Published 11 months ago by CAPTWAYNE
An excellent book, well-written, a first class addition to any collection.Published 18 months ago by bernard billian
I love reading and studying about abraham lincoln and his time as president and his trails during the civil war period.Published 19 months ago by matt