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Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason Hardcover – November 19, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Savas Beatie (November 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932714898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932714890
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A strong must read for any pre-law student.
David Lickiss
After reading the text of the book, I found these to be very interesting and informative.
Carl H
This book was terrific in explaining how Lincoln structured his arguments and speeches.
Rush Nigut

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dan_K on March 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason is a comprehensive study of how Lincoln developed his command of logic, reason and argument both as an attorney and political giant. I always thought Lincoln, like many politicians, had an innate ability to communicate ideas. The book contends that such skills can be learned. Portions of the book require deep thought regarding the mathematical concepts needed to understand Lincoln's approach, but the authors effectively break the materials into reasonable portions. As a litigation attorney, I really appreciated the historical detail of practicing law in the mid-1800's and would highly recommend the book to other attorneys, especially younger attorneys who wish to understand the roots of the profession and how to develop the timeless art of persuasion from one of the best. A fascinating read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rush Nigut on September 22, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a lawyer I've long been fascinated with how speakers and writers persuade others. I can't imagine anyone else that persuaded others in more difficult circumstances than Abraham Lincoln. This book was terrific in explaining how Lincoln structured his arguments and speeches. Written in a clear and effective manner, I gained enough insight to start using some of Lincoln's techniques in my own writings and arguments. Lincoln was a master of persuasion and I am thankful I had the opportunity to read this book. I highly recommend this book if you wish to improve your skills of persuasion or if you just want to learn more about the mastery of Abraham Lincoln.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By James W. Durney TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Saying Abraham Lincoln is a brilliant writer will cause few arguments. Lincoln increased our vocabulary of phrases while defining how we see ourselves. His words are as fresh now as when spoken, the appeal to our better nature has not diminished. Many theories exist on how a self-education person could write such inspiring words. This book presents a compelling argument that Euclidean Geometry is the answer.

The book opens with a look at Lincoln as a student. Lincoln recalled his education as "readin, wrttin, and cipherin' and everything else learned "under the pressure of necessity". The authors maintain in "Unlocking Lincoln" that Lincoln transferred geometry into speech. The balance of the book looks at specific speeches and or incidents from Lincoln's life illustrating the development or application of this theory. The book's Appendix contains a series of Lincoln's speeches where the author's apply their idea illustrating how Lincoln applied Euclidean Geometry in each speech.

This is a serious and complex book. One author is an attorney and co-author of the technology column for the American Bar Association Journal. The other has a MS in mathematics and a PHD in electrical engineering. There is a series of charts and tables summarizing their ideas throughout the book. While not an easy read, it is not an impossible one. I followed the text with little difficulty for this type of book. The book is fully footnoted, indexed and contains a full bibliography.

This book will appeal to Lincoln scholars and mathematicians but is an informative read for our Civil War community. While not for everyone it is an above average book.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Vince Treacy on March 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In "Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason," authors David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften write that Lincoln used Euclid's principles of geometry to structure many of his speeches, legal arguments, and writings. In Chapter 3, "Honest Abe?," they write that Lincoln misused Euclid in his 1860 speech at Cooper Union by misconstruing the votes cast by three of the Framers of the Constitution on the issue of the power of the federal government to control slavery in the federal territories.

The authors recite a long list of problems with Lincoln's arguments. The question mark after "Honest Abe" in the chapter's title seems to imply that he was less than honest. The authors make this implication explicit, over and over. Lincoln, they write, "confused the issue" and "stretched the math" (p. 48). He "finessed" the votes of three of the Framers (p. 50). He "employed a verbal shell game" by "overstating his conclusion" (p. 50). There was "weakness in Lincoln's argument" (p. 51). The genius of his speech was in "the skillful stretching of the context of the facts" (emphasis in original, p. 51). He "manufactured three votes" by giving them "a significance they did not have" (p. 51). He used "sleight of hand" (p. 53). Lincoln "slyly manipulated the counting" (p. 52). There was "carefully orchestrated equivocation" (p. 53). The facts Lincoln presented at Cooper Union were not in dispute, but the "stretch" he made was in "the legal effect of those undisputed facts" (p. 54). The authors suggest a possible violation of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

Lincoln was not dishonest. The authors write that "the issue Lincoln addressed was whether the Constitution forbids the federal government from regulating slavery in the territories.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carl H on April 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason provides a meaningful insight into the process used by Lincoln to analyze issues, and develop an effective way of expounding his analysis to others. The pieces reviewed also give a better understanding of the details of the issues in that important time of history. I have long enjoyed reading about the military history of the Civil War era. After reading this book, I came away with what I consider a much better understanding of Abraham Lincoln as a person. It will stimulate additional reading.
The appendices of the book contain a number of Lincoln's speeches, and letters. After reading the text of the book, I found these to be very interesting and informative. I don't usually spend much time in the appendix.
As a layman, the format of the book also helps provide a much better appreciation of the legal process. Time reading this book is well spent.
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