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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Herndon Revisited
This is a reprint of the Lincoln biography published in the 1880s by his former law partner, Billy Herndon. Lincoln biographers have spent 95 years telling why Herndon was mistaken about this or that--until recently. Now they are beginning to say the earlier historians were wrong and Herndon was probably right. I had never read Herndon, but only had seen him quoted...
Published on January 22, 2007 by L. B. Hughes

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Caveat emptor -- this is only Volume II of the book
It is hard to believe that a book about honest Abe would resort to such dishonesty and obvious charlatanry -- the Kindle edition of this book is only Volume 2, a simple enough fact that the publishers fail to mention on the product page.

Thus, I write this to warn the buyer of this chicanery and to enable them to make an informed decision.
Published 9 months ago by D.A.


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Herndon Revisited, January 22, 2007
By 
L. B. Hughes (Calhoun County, MI) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herndon's Lincoln (Knox College Lincoln Studies Center) (Hardcover)
This is a reprint of the Lincoln biography published in the 1880s by his former law partner, Billy Herndon. Lincoln biographers have spent 95 years telling why Herndon was mistaken about this or that--until recently. Now they are beginning to say the earlier historians were wrong and Herndon was probably right. I had never read Herndon, but only had seen him quoted selectively. Billy comes through as a very honest man and a bit like Lincoln. One can see why the latter asked him to be his partner, and stuck it out in partnership with him for a good 20 years. The editors say Herndon was a better back-room lawyer than Lincoln, but Lincoln a much better courtroom lawyer, and the partnership complemented itself that way. Billy was better at research, and that suggests Billy did very good research on his Lincoln biography, too. Shortly after Lincoln was shot Herndon interviewed and corresponded with scores of people from Lincoln's family and his early life. It's easy to see why the law firm was successful, because Billy was a real bulldog. But his book was not well received in the 1880s when first published, largely because many thought it too crude in those days to point out Abe's mother's illegitmacy, etc. But Herndon was going to put down whatever the facts bore out. He adored Lincoln, and believed his greatness would be enhanced more by the truth than by lies... I now have a much higher regard for Herndon than formerly... On the other hand, the editors and publisher deserve low marks for the smallness of the type face, which goes down even smaller in the footnotes, making this important book more difficult to read than it should be. Don't be put off by the first Preface, either, which should be either buried at the end of the book or deleted.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars required reading, March 5, 2009
By 
J. A. Haverstick (Lancaster, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herndon's Lincoln (Knox College Lincoln Studies Center) (Hardcover)
I ditto the first 5-star. Maybe we could say that there are popular biographies, scholarly biographies and personal recollections. There is no substitute for Herndon's recollections, a man who spent thousands of hours with Lincoln in everyday life. Sure, he's no Boswell; sure, some factual claims may be in dispute...but there are still those thousands of hours. This may not be the only - or even "best" - biography of Lincoln, however, if you're reading two biographies, I'd say this should be the second.

I actually didn't have a problem with the book's format and I'm 66 and read most of it in bed. It's more well produced than the average 21st cent volume. I was disappointed that the editors chose to leave out some of the original illustrations. Whatever they thought of them, I prefer to see volumes as they originally appeared, if possible.

There are some spots that drag (the duel episode, for instance) but it's quite an easy read and this edition, in the notes in the back, clarifies all controversial points. ( These endnotes that modern books almost always substitute for footnotes ARE something to gripe about!) I don't think I've gotten such a feel for Lincoln, the walking, talking human being, from another source.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A voice as close to Lincoln as you can read, December 11, 2008
By 
S. Davis (Elmwood Illinois) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herndon's Lincoln (Knox College Lincoln Studies Center) (Hardcover)
Herndon's Lincoln almost ignored by everyone, but Lincoln scholars has been republished. Editors Doug Wilson and Rodney Davis both of Knox College have made the source of much Lincoln history available to today's reader. Herndon was a great researcher, but his writing style is very odd sounding to modern ears. His partner Jesse Weik is the primary author of the text and is very readable. It was published late in Herndon's life and never reached the wide audience he had hoped. It is an essential source for anyone interested in who Lincoln was and how he came to be the great nineteenth century politician. You will arrive at a much fuller appreciation for the political climate of early Illinois and the Western states as they were known at that time. Lincoln is revealed by the reflections of his contemporaries as an admirable man, as a complex man, and as an imperfect man. Herndon relates events he was directly involved in as a first hand witness to who was A. Lincoln. He spent a great deal of time collecting correspondence from those who knew Lincoln before he became President. It seems that Herndon struggles to find the words to capture the true man, he is never satisfied with his efforts. You can almost hear him thinking the plow won't scour. His collected letters speak for themselves. History is greatly in debt to Lincoln's law partner, William Herndon, and modern readers seeking to learn more of Lincoln are greatly in debt to Wilson and Davis. If you are not a Lincoln scholar, I would skip to "a note on the text and annotation" and then start reading, you will come back to the preface with a much better understanding after you are done. Lincoln as he was, neither all saint nor all sinner. I can't imagine a more essential book for those who are interested in studying Abraham Lincoln.
You will probably want to learn more from Lincoln contemporaries. Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Herndon's Lincoln, Edited by Douglas Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, March 17, 2009
This review is from: Herndon's Lincoln (Knox College Lincoln Studies Center) (Hardcover)
I recently attended the 200th aniversary of Lincoln's birthday in Springfield and was able to meet both Wilson and Davis, two very fine men. The are arguably two of the most revered and knowledgeable scholars on Lincoln of all time, certainly in the last twenty-five years.
The two gentlemen have taken previously written books from the Knox College (Illinois) Studies Center such as Herndon's Informants, and have added additional research beyond where Herndon's interviews and affidavits left off. The result is a resounding hit! They have a book that though from 2006, is released in conjunction with the Lincoln-Douglas Debates 150th anniversary in 2008, and the birthday Bicentennial in 2009, as mentioned in the book. You will enjoy this as it stands alone in sorting out the defects and criticisms of the original Herndon research, deficient due to the rift with Weik and Robert Lincoln. In short, it helps to fill in some of the gaps left in previous attempts by others. It is a good book and your time reading it will be well spent. Rob Hutchins
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1.0 out of 5 stars Caveat emptor -- this is only Volume II of the book, May 2, 2014
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This review is from: Herndon's Lincoln (Kindle Edition)
It is hard to believe that a book about honest Abe would resort to such dishonesty and obvious charlatanry -- the Kindle edition of this book is only Volume 2, a simple enough fact that the publishers fail to mention on the product page.

Thus, I write this to warn the buyer of this chicanery and to enable them to make an informed decision.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lincoln, the man, December 22, 2013
This review is from: Herndon's Lincoln (Knox College Lincoln Studies Center) (Hardcover)
An intimate portrait by Lincoln's law partner and friend of many years, written in inimitable nineteenth century style. A detailed and often humorous account.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, but not a great edition, February 23, 2010
By 
Douglas Criner (Princeton, Illinois) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herndon's Lincoln (Knox College Lincoln Studies Center) (Hardcover)
Herndon's Lincoln, originally published over 100 years ago, is an essential and very readable personal account of Lincoln's law partner. What does this recent edition have to offer that other, less expensive, versions do not? (Essentially, it's the same book, of course.)

There are two main, new features of this edition. First, there is a new "editors' introduction," that is interesting and helpful in describing the history and evolution of the early editions. Secondly, the editors have added some 42 pages of their own, new footnotes at the end of the book. Most of those new footnotes are primarily of academic interest and are likely to be of limited interest to many readers. And, with the new footnotes placed inconveniently at the end of the book, referring to them while reading the book is awkward and disruptive to somebody "just reading the book," as opposed to an academic researcher.

This edition also omits many of the pictures included in original versions of the book. The original footnotes of Herndon (and his co-author, Weik) have been set in a font that is too small to read comfortably - a smaller font, in fact, than employed for the editors' 42 pages of newly added footnotes.

I would look for other, more economical editions. My overall rating applies to this particular edition, not the original book itself.
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Herndon's Lincoln (Knox College Lincoln Studies Center)
Herndon's Lincoln (Knox College Lincoln Studies Center) by Douglas L. Wilson (Hardcover - September 14, 2006)
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