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A mixture of visionary progressivism and repugnant racism, Abraham Lincoln's attitude toward slavery is the most troubling aspect of his public life, one that gets a probing assessment in this study. Columbia historian and Bancroft Prize winner Foner (Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men) traces the complexities of Lincoln's evolving ideas about slavery and African-Americans: while he detested slavery, he also publicly rejected political and social equality for blacks, dragged his feet (critics charged) on emancipating slaves and accepting black recruits into the Union army, and floated schemes for colonizing freedmen overseas almost to war's end. Foner situates this record within a lucid, nuanced discussion of the era's turbulent racial politics; in his account Lincoln is a canny operator, cautiously navigating the racist attitudes of Northern whites, prodded--and sometimes willing to be prodded--by abolitionists and racial egalitarians pressing faster reforms. But as Foner tells it, Lincoln also embodies a society-wide transformation in consciousness, as the war's upheavals and the dynamic new roles played by African-Americans made previously unthinkable claims of freedom and equality seem inevitable. Lincoln is no paragon in Foner's searching portrait, but something more essential--a politician with an open mind and a restless conscience. 16 pages of illus., 3 maps.
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“A well orchestrated examination of Lincoln’s changing views of slavery, bringing unforeseeable twists and a fresh sense of improbability to a familiar story.” (The 2011 Pulitzer Prize Committee)
“Starred Review. Original and compelling….In the vast library on Lincoln, Foner’s book stands out as the most sensible and sensitive reading of Lincoln’s lifetime involvement with slavery and the most insightful assessment of Lincoln’s―and indeed America’s―imperative to move toward freedom lest it be lost. An essential work for all Americans.” (Library Journal)
Illumination of the life of Abraham Lincoln, which considers the complicated identification of the 'Great Emancipator'.Published 1 month ago by Neku
I'm sure others have described it better but understanding Lincoln's evolution in the context of today's events in Ferguson and other places give this book new relevance.Published 1 month ago by Dinobrago
Excellent book written by one of the best Civil War historians today.Published 2 months ago by double d
lots of stuff about Abe that I have never read before. Since we share same birth date, have read a lot.Published 3 months ago by Kenneth B. Ackerman
A very easy book to lay down. Factual info was worthwhile, but the writing style left me cold.Published 4 months ago by George at Traditions
An excellent description of the evolution in a politician's thinking.Published 4 months ago by Mark R. Otis