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"We Are Lincoln Men": Abraham Lincoln and His Friends (Large Print) Unknown Binding – 2003

23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: RB Large Print; Large Print edition (2003)
  • ISBN-10: 1402579497
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402579493
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,135,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By W. C HALL VINE VOICE on November 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fans and students of the sixteenth president of the United States can doubly rejoice over this work. "We Are Lincoln Men" demonstrates that despite thousands of books about the Great Emancipator already being in print, there are still new approaches to be mined; and it also represents another contribution by the most accomplished Lincoln scholar of this era, Professor David Herbert Donald.

Professor Donald has spent more than half a century studying Lincoln's life and times and is author of many books, including "Lincoln" (1995), widely regarded as the best one-volume life of the subject in decades. He's brought that lifetime of experience to this project, along with study and contemplation of the nature of friendship. Perhaps part of the reason Lincoln remains an enigma and a subject of endless fascination and study is that he never fully revealed himself to any other human being. However, Donald has identified relationships which were pivotal at various points in Lincoln's life, and if not representing a marriage of equals, did at least offer this solitary man some of the benefits of close comradeship. Yet time, physical distance and political differences eventually eroded these relationships.

The author examines his interactions with his one-time roommate, Joshua Speed; his long-time law partner, William Herndon; Illinois Senator Orville Browning; Secretary of State William Seward; and his personal secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay. Each met differing needs for Lincoln at various times in his life. They served as sounding boards for Lincoln's ideas, provided him with comfort in times of grief, laughter in times of stress, and support in times of crisis. Yet even these men couldn't claim to fully know the great man.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Richard E. Hegner on November 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yet another book about Lincoln? David Donald's "We Are Lincoln Men" more than justifies itself by presenting new insights into the 16th President's relationships with his six closest friends. In doing so, it demonstrates just how revealing a political leader's friendships can be. This book is a worthy successor to Donald's stellar biography, "Lincoln"; like that book, this one is captivating and a joy to read, even when presenting-as it rarely does-pieces of Lincoln lore which are fairly well known. No matter what the reader already knows about Lincoln or his times, he or she is bound to gain new perspectives by reading this volume.
The book begins with a brief discussion of friendship, and presents Aristotle's basic typology of friendships ("enjoyable," "useful," and "perfect" or "complete"). The introductory chapter looks at Lincoln's boyhood and youth-concluding that "Lincoln never had a chum" and noting that "by temperament...Lincoln grew up as a man of great reserve."
The book then proceeds with chapter-length examinations of his six key friendships. Each was unique, in part because of the personalities involved and because of when the friendships first developed. While Joshua Speed and Lincoln were remarkably close as young men in Illinois-to the point where some have speculated that they might have had a homoerotic relationship (a point Duncan dismisses)-they grew apart primarily because of political differences as they aged. "Billy" Herndon, Lincoln's principal law partner and eventual biographer, remained in Lincoln's shadow for a variety of reasons, including his radicalism, his inability to get along with Mary Lincoln, and his alcoholism.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Phillips on March 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
David Herbert Donald is considered by most to be one of, if not the premier Lincoln historian in the Country. This book fits another piece of the puzzle together. Lincoln's friends are the subjects of this book, and of close friends, Lincoln had only a few. Donald has picked the six men with whom Lincoln seemed to have the closest relationship at one time or another and has examined how each friendship began, it's life, and if it ended before Lincoln's death, it's end. None really ended, but some did seem to dissipate.
Donald, like most writers who complete a large biography of an individual has become somewhat enamored by his subject and takes pains in this work to defend Lincoln from some rather silly but sensational charges. Sometimes though, Donald gets a little carried away with his obvious admiration for his subject. For example, he often discredits statements attributed to Lincoln saying that in phrase and in wording it does not sound like Lincoln. Unfortunately however, Donald then argues that Lincoln probably wrote a famous and well-received letter that John Hay later claimed to have written. Donald admits the letter doesn't sound like Lincoln and does sound like Hay's work but continues to attribute it to Lincoln. It sounds a little like the old saying about having your cake and eating it too.
On the other hand, whether Donald intended it to happen or not, a fairly unattractive vision of Lincoln shows through on occasion. Quite frankly, Lincoln comes across as what I have always called a user. Someone who uses people to get what they want and then casts them aside. Lincoln was not like this with all of his friends but he seems to have been guilty fairly often. Maybe that explains why he was so afraid to share his intimate feelings and hopes.
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