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One Man Great Enough: Abraham Lincoln's Road to Civil War Hardcover – October 30, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Former Christian Science Monitor journalist Waugh is the author of six books on the Civil War, including Re-electing Lincoln, perhaps the most accessible and complete volume on the pivotal presidential election of 1864. In his latest book, Waugh employs the same combination of lively prose backed with solid research to examine Lincoln's life story from birth to his first presidential inauguration, rarely straying from the themes of the future of the Union, impending Civil War and, more importantly, slavery. Waugh covers the events in Lincoln's pre-April 1861 life, making liberal use of Lincoln's own words, primarily from letters and speeches, and the reminiscences of one of Lincoln's closest friends and associates, his former law partner William Herndon. Waugh shows that although Lincoln embraced white supremacy and opposed interracial marriage and black suffrage during his early years as an Illinois state legislator, he managed to separate those views from his strong opposition to the institution of slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong, Lincoln later said. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel. Waugh is particular adept at weaving details of Lincoln's family life into the narrative, which focuses on decidedly political matters, including the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates and the 1860 presidential election campaign. (Nov.)
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Review

"General audiences will delight in Waugh''s expansive narrative full of colorful anecdotes. This book vividly illustrates why Abraham Lincoln remains a touchstone for democracy."
(Thomas F. Schwartz, Illinois State Historian, Lincoln Presidential Library)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; 1 edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151010714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151010714
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,430,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By David W. Nicholas on October 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are a raft of Lincoln books published seemingly every year. Each author has a slightly different take on the Great Emancipator, seeing him in a slightly different light. Most think him as great as the name implies, nad I tend to agree. So does the author of this current book, who takes a look at Lincoln's political philosophy, especially as it relates to the issue of slavery. Author Waugh spends only a little time dealing with incidents in Lincoln's life: his marriage, the death of his son, and so forth are all dealt with very cursorily. His father's death is only mentioned in passing, when the author is recounting something that happened a decade later. The majority of the space in this book follows Lincoln's transformation from a Whig who had only vague opposition to the institution of slavery into an abolitionist of sorts who had very definite views about pretty much every aspect of the issue.

I've never read a book by John C. Waugh before. On one or two occasions, people have recommended books by him to me, and I think I have a copy of one of his books floating around here somewhere, but I never did get to it. This book crossed my path, and the time was right so I read it. I have to say I think I'm going to have to find that other book, because this volume is very well-written and interesting. I really enjoyed it.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Christian Schlect VINE VOICE on November 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A basic history of Abraham Lincoln's political journey from Illinois to Washington, D.C. Nothing in this book will be a surprise to dedicated readers on the Civil War era.

The author writes in a folksy style, sourcing quotes from local press accounts of the time, memoirs, and early Lincoln biographies. Mr. Waugh uses the Little Giant, Senator Douglas, and his long-time and somewhat unusual relationship to the up-and-coming Lincoln as a common thread throughout his book.

Not broad or deep scholarship, but worth reading for one in need of an introduction to, or reminder of, the greatness embodied in the one who finally ended slavery within our land.
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Format: Audio CD
This is not the first book I read about Lincoln. But it is the first one that details and dedicates to his life before the presidency. It also illustrates the general political life and landscape in the early antebellum-time Illinois (and sometime national) well as it traces the life of Lincoln. The description of Steven Douglass is also quite interesting. I would like to agree with one of the previous reviewers that it is in the folklore style, and therefore lacks the depth somewhat. But that might not be the author's intention anyway. As a general guy interesting in history, I feel quite satisfactory about the book and would recommend to anyone interesting in Lincoln.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lesley Dart on March 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The significance of this early life biography is that the author focuses carefully on how Lincoln's political views of the issue of slavery were shaped; through his careful and meticulous research, tested on the debate trail against Douglas, and proved in the ballot booth, forged on the field of battle. If you are interested in Lincoln's views on slavery, along with some very interesting tales, this is the book that will supply the answers.
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By ff83 on July 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This book was a bit of a tedious read, but overall very good. Different side of the story than other Lincoln biographies.
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