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Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths Paperback – March 15, 2011
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From the Back Cover
An essential book for any student of Lincoln and American history, Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths is acclaimed Lincoln biographer Stephen B. Oates's unique exploration of America's sixteenth president in reality and memory. In this multifaceted portrait, Oates, "the most popular historical interpreter of Lincoln" (Gabor S. Boritt, New York Times Book Review), exposes the human side of the great and tragic president—including his depression, his difficulties with love, and his troubled and troubling attitudes about slavery—while also confronting the many legends that have arisen around "Honest Abe." Oates throughout raises timely questions about what the Lincoln mythos reveals about the American people.
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Top Customer Reviews
As expected, the book itself was a smooth and thought-inspiring manuscript, and it was backed-up with meticulous notes and primary sources.
That slavery was the cause of the Civil War is beyond all doubt. As Oates explains, however, the North did not go to war to free the slaves. In the standard phrasing, the North went to war to 'preserve the union'. Oates explores Lincoln's fears that the spread of slavery in the wake of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott decision would lead to the destruction of democratic society. The debate then still raged on the world stage whether a republican form of government could last. Lincoln rejected the "ingenious sophism" that states could freely leave the Union. "With rebellion thus sugar coated [southern leaders] have been drugging the public mind of their section for more than thirty years." Secession posed nothing less than a final challenge to popular government. If a minority could destroy the government any time it felt aggrieved, then no government could endure. Thus the war had to be fought to preserve not just the American Republic, but the possibility of republican government.
Lincoln did in fact oppose slavery from early on. His views on racial matters apart from slavery became more fully progressive over time.Read more ›
A Review by Anthony T. Riggio of Stephen B. Oates, Abraham Lincoln, The Man Behind the Myths.
I downloaded this work from Kindle and it is one of the better biographies of Lincoln, though limited to, many of the common beliefs and misconceptions about the life of Lincoln. Oates wrote this book in 1984 while teaching at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. His Part one deals with the popular myths about the man, namely the people's man and the arch villain. It contrasts his reputation in both the North and the South. Oates does a great job in presenting the reasons for much of Lincoln's mood swings and his preoccupation with the strategy of the war.
Lincoln's idea's about slavery are one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted concepts of his political life and Oates presents these in a dispassionate form. I believe from reading this part, that Mr. Lincoln was always, in his heart of hearts always an abolitionist though many continue to argue about his motives regarding slavery. Oates paints the best conclusions I have read in the many biographies I have read about Lincoln.
All of his leadership efforts are clearly aimed at the preservation of the Union to include his personal belief that the rebel states continued to remain part of the United States. This idea, I believe, motivated his posture on reconstruction as the war was winding down. Evidence of this is clearly manifest in the position of his commanding general US Grant.
It is very clear to the reader that Lincoln's assassination created an increased difficult time for the White southerners and equally a curse for the newly freed slaves.
I recommend this short book, which is well outlined and commented upon as a balanced biography and one which every student of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln should add to his collection of must reads.
I was very happy to give five stars to this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Professor Oates provides us with an insightful glimpse of Lincoln with an honest, thoughtful approach that is enjoyable to read!Published 7 months ago by Jack
Oates cuts to the chase in this must-read for Lincoln enthusiasts and history buffs. His well-researched tome should be required reading for all students of American history.Published 13 months ago by Carter
Having read several biographies of Abraham Lincoln, this book did a lot to sort through the misconceptions. He author's writing style makes the subject come alive.Published 17 months ago by Bruce East
The author does an admirable job of weaving all of the various recitations and theories about Lincoln into a focused yet comprehensive discussion of his,life and achievements. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Merrie E Meyers
Company and shipping were awesome, book is boring! I love abe and have read many books on him, this one... not so muchPublished on July 29, 2013 by Sarah
This book was as described and shipped quickly. As it was for a school project not so sure it was the greatest book ever but it was a good book and in great shape. - Thank you!Published on July 9, 2013 by Heidi Nolen