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Lincoln's Herndon: A Biography Hardcover – 1948

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About the Author

David Herbert Donald, Charles Warren professor of american history at Harvard, has won two Pulitzer Prizes for biography: Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War; and Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 442 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (1948)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006ARMH8
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,556,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Brandt on June 21, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Someone (possibly Douglas Wilson) once said that the world's second-most knowledgeable group of historians had to be a table of Lincoln scholars having dinner together. The most knowledgeable was David Herbert Donald eating alone. Donald also has another talent: He can write, and not all historians can say that. Lincoln's Herndon is nearly sixty years old, but it is as fresh now as it was then, and his 1988 introduction shows that he would have changed little after forty years. The book concentrates not so much on the personal Herndon but on the Herndon who fashioned most of the knowledge we have on the pre-Springfield Lincoln. Or as Donald questions, was that history or mostly myth and half-truth? Donald questions everything Herndon wrote about the Lincoln he did not experience personally, including the alleged romance with Ann Rutledge, the bouts of deep depression, and the eleventh-hour breakup with Mary Todd. Donald also takes a hard look at Herndon's harsh accusations of his senior partner's alleged atheism and debates the point with historical evidence. Donald is also dubious because Herndon was convinced that he could read Lincoln's mind and thus speculated on his partner's motivations and thought processes, including events before they had even met and again in the White House when Herndon had but one brief encounter with his old law partner. Modern-day Lincoln bashers such as Thomas DiLorenzo and Charles Adams should read Lincoln's Herndon and take note of how a real historian does it.

Whether you are a scholar or not, you must read this classic work to gain a more realistic view of Abraham Lincoln by learning more about the man largely responsible for much of his legacy, true and mythical. It's also a hoot to read!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard Lawrence Miller, Lincoln author on August 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
A prime source of information about Lincoln's last law partner, including Herndon's political activities. Not a lively read, but an informative one. The author, who wrote this book in the 1940s, became one of the most admired Lincoln scholars.
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