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Lincoln Paperback – November 5, 1996
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Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
It is a fascinating look at the evolution of the character and personality of a man of meager origins and virtually no formal education. Lincoln was driven to make something of himself; this is best seen in his insatiable desire to educate himself. Beyond self-development, Lincoln had an inherent ability to relate to others. He combined humility with a great ability to tell stories. This ease among his fellow citizens led to his being elected to the Illinois legislature at a fairly young age and to a reasonably successful career as a lawyer.
Lincoln was a Whig and devotee of Henry Clay and his American system of internal improvements. But it would be completely wrong to regard Lincoln as mostly an opportunistic politician. He was principled, if anything. Manipulating a political view to get elected would have never occurred to Lincoln. Furthermore, Lincoln was a man of his word. When elected to Congress in 1846, he returned home after one term as he promised, though undoubtedly he could have been re-elected. However, the author shows that Lincoln became very astute politically with a substantial network of political friends both at the state and national levels.
Early in Lincoln's career, slavery was seldom an issue.Read more ›
The organizing principle of _Lincoln_ makes Donald's job very hard. When Donald met JFK during the latter's presidency, Kennedy attacked historians for retrospectively judging the worth of presidents. Historians, said Kennedy, had no right to make such judgments until they sat in the presidential desk and had to make the tough decisions.
Donald wrote _Lincoln_ in an attempt to honor Kennedy's wishes, and he more than succeeded. Every sentence in _Lincoln_ is guided by the question, ``What did Lincoln know at the time he made this decision? What information did he have on hand? What could he have been reasonably expected to know? Why did he make this decision?" At no moment does Donald judge Lincoln - he is a scrupulous researcher, not historiography's answer to God.
Through this biography, we learn that Lincoln was very human. He made mistakes. Not only did he mess up, but Donald makes it clear that he wasn't always as revered as he is today. Through newspaper clippings, diary entries, and hundreds of other primary sources, Donald paints a picture of a man who very nearly lost the Union as well as his second term. Only through skillful politicking did Lincoln neutralize his enemies and get reelected.
I came into this book curious how Lincoln moved from his first inaugural address, during which he said
I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution
of slavery in the States where it exists.Read more ›
This book does not diminish Lincoln as a President or a man, but does provide deeper insight into his character, his view of race relations and how little (or at least public) thought he gave to the practical effects of emancipation, expecially prior to his presidency.
I should probably have given this book 5 stars, but I thought Donald spent too much time on newly discovered evidence of Lincoln's uniteresting legal practice prior to his public life. Moreover, while this is obviously a biography and not a history of the Civil War, the description of the war effort was at times meager given the significance of certain battles and how they ultimately affected the outcome of the war.
All in all, these are very minor concerns over what has been called our generation's biography of Lincoln.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A lot of research went into this book. Did not realize how complex Lincoln was and still a bit confused on his position on slavery. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Karen
Excellent biography on Lincoln. Impassive and well-researched. Learned a LOT about Lincoln that I did not know. Some people like biographers to make conclusions on the subject. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
A thoroughly researched and enjoyable biography. Well wort the time investedPublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Quite thorough biography of Lincoln!. Sheds far more light on his early years than anything I've encountered. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Camerons
Simply awesome... Opens new doors into Lincoln's complex, often quirky personality.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Though I am no History Buff nor am I finished with the book, but I have found the first quarter very enlightening, especially as it relates to Lincoln and his childhood. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Chris Shockley