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The Young Eagle: The Rise of Abraham Lincoln Hardcover – April 1, 2001

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The Young Eagle: The Rise of Abraham Lincoln + An Honest Calling: The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln + Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1832-1858 (Library of America)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Essential to the myth of Lincoln, writes University of Nebraska historian Winkle, is the image of the log cabin: the 16th president's humble origins made his rise to the White House astounding. Winkle shows that though his roots were modest, Lincoln was hardly a self-made man. His rise from "frontier poverty" to the presidency occurred in a specific historic context, and the strength of this biography lies less in any startling new findings about Lincoln's early years and more in Winkle's careful and consistent placement of Lincoln's choices within larger sociocultural trends. For example, historians have made much of the early death of Lincoln's mother, Nancy. But the loss of one's mother at an early age was common then, says Winkle, and scholars may have overstated the impact it had on the future president. He also examines Lincoln's much-analyzed estrangement from his father--he refused to go to his father's sick bed or even to attend his funeral--in a broader historical context. Winkle sets this family drama against the backdrop of changes in economic and family values: as production increasingly left the home for the factory in antebellum America, "fathers... lost their privileged, patriarchal status." Similarly, Winkle describes Lincoln's turbulent courtship of Mary Todd in light of changes in the institution of marriage during the 1830s and '40s. Does all this contextualizing add up to a sweepingly revised biography of Lincoln, or even to a grand new understanding of his "rise"? No. But Winkle's attention to the particularities of time and place reminds readers that Lincoln was not simply an underdog hero who appeared on the scene in 1860, and this outlook distinguishes his book from the endless stream of Lincoln biographies.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Over the years, the life of Abraham Lincoln has been the focus of such a large number of scholarly and popular studies that many might wonder whether a new addition to this literature is warranted. Yet this work by Winkle (American history, Univ. of Nebraska; Politics of Community) demonstrates that modern historical methodology can offer new insight into this important life. Winkle utilizes community analysis to examine the life of Abraham Lincoln in its broad social and cultural context and to compare him meaningfully to his contemporaries. Drawing from a broad range of primary and secondary sources, the author is able to reconstruct Lincoln's youth in an unusual and quite well-documented study that informs the reader as much about life and politics in mid-19th century America as it does about Lincoln himself. The result is a good addition to larger public and academic libraries and especially to collections specializing in Lincoln and the Civil War. Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing; First edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878332553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878332557
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #756,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By FredH on September 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is THE great unknown Lincoln book! It charts Lincoln's rise from rural poverty to the Presidency. When I was writing ABE AND MOLLY: The Lincoln Courtship and the supporting blog [...] THE YOUNG EAGLE was an invaluable source. What Winkle provides that no other author I know does is a sociological perspective on Lincoln's time. Want to know the divorce rate in Springfield, Illinois, between 1850 and 1860? Winkle will inform you on page 230 (1.3). And who had the highest divorce rate? Public officials. He will also tell you about how prairie village economies worked and a host of other terrific information. An impressive work of scholarship!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In The Young Eagle: The Rise of Abraham Lincoln, Kenneth Winkle provided his readers with a rather unique perspective of Lincoln's pre-presidential years which is invaluable in terms of Lincoln scholarship simply because Winkle appeared determined to avoid encouraging the common myth that Lincoln was a "self-made man" who rose from poverty to the highest office in the United States. For that reason alone, I would have no problem recommending this book to any Lincoln fan whether new to the vast array of Lincoln scholarship available or not. Winkle also suggested that many historians have perhaps overstated the impact that the loss of his mother had on him at such an early age. Winkle posited that the death of Nancy Hanks Lincoln may not have been quite as influential as previously believed because the death of a loved one was fairly commonplace on the frontier—while I do not necessarily agree with this sentiment, it was refreshing to read a different view on the subject. Ultimately, I would easily recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Abraham Lincoln because it is well-written and thoroughly researched while it also added a different take on certain events in Lincoln's life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jannucat on March 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book provided details of Lincoln's younger life that do not appear in the many other books I have read about this President.
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