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Douglass and Lincoln: How a Revolutionary Black Leader & a Reluctant Liberator Struggled to End Slavery & Save the Union Hardcover – December 26, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0802715234 ISBN-10: 0802715230 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Walker & Company; First Edition edition (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802715230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802715234
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,682,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Paul Kendrick, assistant director of the Harlem Children's Zone, and his father, Stephen, a Boston minister (coauthors of Sarah's Long Walk, about Boston's free blacks) give a thorough look at two unlikely allies. Lincoln began as a white supremacist who saw Douglass as an exception to the rule of black inferiority. What is more, his first priority was the preservation of the Union. The onetime slave Douglass, on the other hand, stood uncompromisingly for complete emancipation, to be followed by full and equal citizenship. He further held that the Civil War's massive carnage could only be redeemed by the annihilation of the "peculiar institution." Despite their mutual respect, the two men had only three face-to-face meetings, just two of these in private. Thus, this study of Douglass, Lincoln and their "relationship" is chiefly a discussion of evolving rhetoric, primarily Lincoln's on such topics as emancipation, black service in the Union ranks and black suffrage, and how his views initially contrasted with, but were eventually influenced by, Douglass's fiery arguments in public speeches and newspaper editorials. This is a workmanlike narrative of the same story recently explored by James Oakes in his critically praised The Radical and the Republican.


"[T]he Kendricks have done wonderful work exploring one of the most complex and important relationships in American history."—Chuck Leddy, Christian Science Monitor

"Since emancipation and its aftermath prompt divergent interpretations of Lincoln, the Kendricks’  fluid account of Douglass’  influence reliably lays a factual foundation for debaters about this momentous passage in American history."—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

"The Kendricks beautifully assess the political and moral, and often conflicting, agendas of each man, but they excel, particularly in their treatment of Douglass, at personalizing one of the history's most unlikely and effective political allies...A wise and sensitive appreciation of the intersecting careers of two giants of American history."—Kirkus Reviews

"Filled with passion and intrigue, Douglass and Lincoln vividly brings to life an unlikely partnership that will grow to epitomize the transformation of a nation.  This captivating double portrait illuminates both figures, often in surprising ways."—Forrest Church, author of So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle over Church and State

"The Kendricks have done it again!  Here is important history, well written and well told.  They have given us the eyes of Frederick Douglass to see Abraham Lincoln without the martyrdom and the Civil War without the mythology.  Intimate, accurate, and thoughtful, Douglass and Lincoln should be the starting place for anyone wishing to understand how Northern blacks saw the political turmoil of the 1850s and the Civil War.”—Donald Yacovone, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University

Douglass and Lincoln transports you back into the private meetings, debate halls and violent clashes that gripped our nation as it wrestled with the question of how to end slavery while preserving a fragile union. It's a compelling book of history, as well as a great read for those learning to be leaders who make history.”—Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
It's quite a page turner.
John S.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested to anyone interested in U.S. history, the Civil War, and centuries-long struggle for civil rights.
Jeremy A. Perron
A superbly written book on a very important subject.
Bruce Banner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ellis Caldwell on February 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a truly fascinating book and an exciting story.
The Kendricks' use letters, articles and mountains of other research to bring these men and their struggles to life. I found myself seeing them not as icons, but as people. It is an exciting story to follow Douglass' mission to make the Civil War about freedom, his son's perilous experiences as soldiers and the Kendricks' interesting take on Lincoln's evolution.
Watching Lincoln through Douglass' gave me a Lincoln I had never seen before. While they do not hold back with aspects of Lincoln on race that may surprise you, he emerges as great because he is not paralyzed by his prejudices as he rises to monumental deeds.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. These two have a true gift for making history interesting and inspiring.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kate Johnson on February 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a student of history, I found this a compelling look at two towering figures and a cogent study of their rarely-explored relationship through the Civil War. Approaching the subject with subtlety and sensitivity, Kendrick and Kendrick make a case for the mutual influence of their dialogue. It was this force that ultimately cemented Lincoln's conviction to continue the war, not just his aversion to breaking the Union. Through new primary sources--unpublished letters, black abolitionist papers--the book provides critical background which gives abolition new resonance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John S. on June 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Douglass and Lincoln is an exceptionally researched and well-written book on the relationship between these two important men. Most of the book focuses on Douglass rather than Lincoln, perhaps necessarily so. The Kendricks do a superb job of tracing Lincoln's slow transformation from a leader reluctant to press the emancipation issue to one who eventually embraced it, all within the context of Douglass's lifelong struggle not only for emancipation, but for equality. Douglass and Lincoln met only a few times, but it's evident in this book that they held a mutual respect for each other due to each man's struggle against adversity in their early lives. I recommend this book not only because it is well-researched, but because it's well-written. It's quite a page turner. I couldn't put it down.
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By Jeremy A. Perron on December 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass came from two different walks of life and led very different lives. They were both, as Douglass would later describe it, `self-made men' with Douglass rising out of slavery and Lincoln out of poverty to become leading figures of the nation. Lincoln would become a politician and rise to become the sixteenth president of the United States. Frederick Douglass would become a politician too, but not an office-seeking one. He would be on the outreaches of power doing all he could, in his genius, to fight for the enslaved and for justice for all African-Americans. Stephan and Paul Kendrick, father and son, recreate the epic political battles of the Mid-Nineteenth century United States over slavery and the Constitution.

Both Lincoln and Douglass had to overcome many hurdles in life to get to their destinies. Lincoln was born into extreme poverty. He had a cruel and overbearing father who worked all he could out of him until he was twenty-one. Douglass had been born into slavery. He did not even know who his father was, although he had a strong suspicion that it was the man who, by the law, owned him. Both would over come these obstacles on the road to greatness.

Lincoln managed to educate himself and `read law' in order to join the bar and become a frontier lawyer. He would win election to the state legislature and become a vocal minority leader as a member of the Whig Party. He would serve one mediocre term in the United States House of Representatives. In the 1850s, two failed Senate bids, one against the legendary Stephen Douglas, established Lincoln as one of the leading voices against slavery, the expansion of slavery, and slave power.
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By D. Williams on April 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I learned a lot, not only about Douglas and Lincoln, but also about the environment leading up to and surrounding the Civil War. These were two complex men, each with his own powerful belief system, that found a way to change history, with Douglas significantly influencing Lincoln. It's impossible to fully understand the conditions and perspectives of their time, but this book did a good job of putting me into those times and helped me understand these men and the burdens they carried and the passions they felt. And, it was a pleasant read, a historical page turner.
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By Michael Akin on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As the Kendrick's stated at a recent book talk on their new work: 'we often approach this war [Civil War] through the lens of its ending...but it wasn't like this at all at the time.' This book chronicles, in a very enjoyable novel-like way, the constantly shifting dynamics of the War as reflected in the personal relationship of two great men. Not afraid to tackle the folklore that surrounds each man, Paul and Stephen Kendrick provide helpful insight into a profound relationship.
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