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With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln Paperback – Bargain Price, January 1, 1900


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (January 1, 1900)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060924713
  • ASIN: B005HKLCOQ
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Someone once said that more books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than any other person in history save Jesus and Shakespeare. Indeed, it is impossible to understand the Civil War without getting to know the complex figure of the 16th president. More than any other biographer, Stephen B. Oates brings the plain-talking man from Illinois to life as a canny politician, a doting husband, and a determined wartime leader. Oates has an appealing appreciation for Lincoln's majestic control of the English language, his raw humor, and his undeniable heroism. The final pages, covering Lincoln's death and his legacy, are graceful and moving.

Review

“Hailed as the best one-volume biography of Lincoln” (Boston Globe )

“A superb biography” (Chicago Tribune )

“The standard one-volume biography of Lincoln” (Washington Post )

More About the Author

Stephen B. Oates is the author of sixteen books, including The Approaching Fury; With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln and Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr., the latter two books winning, respectively, the Christopher Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award. They have been translated into several languages.

Oates was a consultant and "talking head" in Ken Burns's Civil War series on PBS, and is a recipient of the Nevins-Freeman Award of the Chicago Civil War Round Table for lifetime achievement in the field of Civil War studies. A teacher at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, he is now writing the concluding book of the Voices of Storm trilogy, about the years of Reconstruction, 1865-1877.

Customer Reviews

Any book that can do that is worth a read.
M. G Watson
The detail of President Lincoln's life in this book has given me a greater understanding of this well remembered President.
tride
Just be sure to read something light on the side so you don't get too overwhelmed while tackling such dark subject matter.
Jenni Gilmer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

110 of 113 people found the following review helpful By David E. Levine on July 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have read (and earlier reviewed) David Herbert Donald's biography of Lincoln and I found it to be more comprehensive than this book. But, then again, Donald's biography is well over 800 pages whereas this one is a mere 440 or so. With more brevity, Oates, nonetheless does a great job and he humanizes Lincoln as well as does Donald.
There are some shortcomings, however. For example, Oates does not delve very deeply into Lincoln's strong antipathy towards his father, nor does he go into great depth as to his strong love of his stepmother. Likewise, he does not recognize Licoln's first love for what it was, as does Donald. Rather, he treats Ann Rutledge merely as a close friend.
Both Donald and Oates do a good job in showing Lincoln to be a master politician but, with more pages, Donald is able to more fully illustrate this. But, many people don't have the patience to read a legnthy tome. Although I think that Donald's biography is the single best one of Lincoln, for a work half of that legnth, this fine biography is five stars.
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68 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth P. Cash on March 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have been studying Abraham Lincoln for nearly 40 years. Many Lincoln scholars consider WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE by Stephen B. Oates one of three BEST one-volume biographies of Abraham Lincoln ever written to date. The other two are LINCOLN by David Herbert Donald and ABRAHAM LINCOLN: A BIOGRAPHY by Benjamin P. Thomas.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 15, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"With Malice Towards None" is a very creditable work and a fine attempt to explain the author's view of Abraham Lincoln. Oates views Lincoln as a genuinely good man, highly ambitious, self-made, and first and foremost: a politician. Like all politicians who are heads of state, Lincoln had to grapple with the issues of his day. In his day, however, the issues were unusually intractable, difficult, and complex, such that the nation was unable to solve them through established institutions. It took an actual Civil War to decide whether slavery in America must go, whether America is first and foremost a union of united States, or whether it was a Union of essentially sovereign single states. These were and are great issues, and the greatness of Lincoln is that he stood in the center of these issues, spent his entire presidency grappling with them, and ultimately, it was his unswerving leadership, not perfect but great, that ultimately led America to resolution of these issues.
Oates shows us that Lincoln was a politician. He wheedled, compromised, and was carried by great events as often as he shaped them. This does nothing to take away from the man who, along with Washington, ranks as doubtless one of our two greatest presidents. While opposing slavery, Lincoln was ready to compromise with it, at least sometimes to some extent. Oates does a good job of explaining this in a non-revisionist way that shows respect to Lincoln and to history.
Oates' writing is clear, and his research thorough. This is not a perfect book in that it is not a complete view of Lincoln. No 400 or so page book about this complicated man could achieve that. On the other hand, Oates portrays Lincoln brilliantly, and with insight, as a gifted leader and politician in an incredibly difficult time.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Steve on January 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
IMO, this is "the" biography of Abraham Lincoln. While I consider David H. Donald's bio of Lincoln to be slightly more sophisticated and detailed, Stephen Oates' bio of Lincoln is the most enjoyable and interesting to read. Prof. Oates has a smooth writing style that tackles complex issues and makes them easy to understand. He never gets bogged down in boring, hard-to-understand statistics or details.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful By bixodoido on March 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Abraham Lincoln is one of the most written-about men in history. There are scores of biographies, profiles, analyses, everything to do with this great man. Because of this, it is difficult to find a good, comprehensive work that details his life adequately and faithfully. In this book, Stephen B. Oates gives a good representation of Lincoln, giving a pretty good account of his life and not trying to raise the man to deity (as others have done). Despite this, however, there are several flaws in this book that make it only of average quality.

Oates commits what I consider to be the unpardonable sin in biography--he attempts to get inside Lincoln's head. One of the necessary qualities of a good biographer is that he or she should not try to psychoanalyze the subject, should not assume he knows what was going on inside the subject's head, and should certainly not embellish the account with a bunch of supposed conversations and feelings which are more the fabrication of the author than the feelings of the subject. Oates breaks all of these rules.
The most annoying thing about the book is that Oates will paraphrase what he thinks Lincoln said. He may give a short quotation, but then he closes the quote and proceeds to adlib what he assumes Lincoln would say, speaking in the first person as though he were the President himself. He uses the pronoun `I' in his own narrative, when he should be using `he.' If you can get over Oates pretending to speak for Lincoln himself throughout most of the book, the rest of the account is pretty decent. But I had a hard time getting past that.

For a 400 or so page biography, this book covers the subject moderately well, though not excellently.
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