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Abraham Lincoln's Extraordinary Era: The Man and His Times Hardcover – January 6, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Karen Kostyal, former editor of National Geographic magazine and National Geographic Books, has written more than a dozen books on biography, history, natural history, and photography, including Stonewall Jackson: A Life Portrait, Trial by Ice: A Photobiography of Ernest Shackleton, Songcatchers, and Field of Battle: The Civil War Letters of Thomas Hasley.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426203284
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426203282
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,016,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Karen Kostyal's many books and articles have covered the heroics of people and animals, the subtleties of place, and the richness of ideas and aspirations that propel human behavior. A longtime writer for National Geographic, she has authored books on the lives of polar explorers, war heroes, and the child survivors of war. Her most recent work, "Great Migrations," is the official companion book to the National Geographic Channel's acclaimed series by the same name. In her years in publishing, she has worked as a senior editor at both National Geographic Magazine and the National Geographic Book Division, as a contributing editor to National Geographic Traveler, and as a contributor to Paraculture Books and to Islands and AARP magazines. She's the recipient of two Lowell Thomas Awards and a member of Ripple Effect Images.

Karen can be reached at www.kmkostyal.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Scott N. Stone on June 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good introduction for the casual reader to Lincoln's life and times. Lots of photos and interesting sidebars along with the main lines of Lincoln's life. As a publication of the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the book has an official "stamp of approval" signifying that, while it is not intended to be a weighty scholarly treatment of Lincoln, it is accurate and backed by solid research. This is a good book for the bedside table, something to pick up and put down, an easy way to get acquainted with this crucial era, something that can be enjoyed, like a museum, one "exhibit" at a time.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William B. Goetz on January 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book: "Abraham Lincoln's Extraordinary Era: The Man And His Times" is a beautifully written book featuring the era in which he lived.....the people, places and the elements that were going on while the Civil War was in full charge....it tells of many angles of looking at our country--only 100 years old, and how we were growing and changing.....a different angle to many Lincoln/Civil War books. W.B.Goetz, Lemoyne, Penna.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Norwood on May 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover
It is difficult to imagine a better single-volume overview of Abraham Lincoln than this National Geographic publication. The strength of this book is the careful framing of Lincoln's life in the context of the major events occurring during his lifetime. The author provides excellent background on the cultural, scientific, and technological developments of the age. The result is an educational experience that offers the reader a complete picture of the enormous transitional era in which Lincoln lived and the crisis he inherited as the sixteenth president of the United States.

The lucid writing style and careful research of author K. M. Kostyal are the main reasons this book goes well beyond most introductions to the life and times of Lincoln. Each chapter includes a useful timeline and interesting sidebars of biographical profiles and capsules. Although the reproduction of old maps were difficult to read and did not contribute substantially to the volume, there were some well-selected photographs, cartoons, and images of memorabilia that supported the author's narrative. One stunning image of the young and "exotic" Mary Todd underscores the elegance that contrasts with virtually everything about the unngainly man she eventually married. Ms. Kostyal quotes a relative who asserted that Mary Todd could "could make a bishop forget his prayers." (p. 51)

One shortcoming of the book was in the minimal attention given to the role that religion played in Lincoln's belief system. As a youngster, Abe would attend a church service and later perform a nearly verbatim dramatic reenactment (and satirical version) of the sermon for his friends. He clearly resisted the strict Calvinism of his father, Thomas Lincoln, and he never became a formal churchgoer.
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