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Showing 1-10 of 32 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 60 reviews
on July 24, 2014
Ronald C. White offers great insight into the setting and style of that early March day, in the year 1864, as well as a detailed breakdown of the speech that is considered as one of the finest speeches in American History today. Although I purchased this as part of an AP US History course many years ago, I find myself flipping through and reading sections of it from time to time each year out of the second copy I have. I will not go into my personal thoughts on his speech as most have, but overall a great read. Second copy of the book came a little later than the original time stated, hence the reason for 4 stars.
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on November 18, 2016
This is a great book about the greatest speech ever given. It gives great, easy to understand detail about the speech, it's origin and it's meaning and what affect it had on the country. I really enjoyed reading this book. A must for any Lincoln fan.
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on August 30, 2014
I have always been moved by President Lincoln's Second Inaugural and was amazed at the language and the pictures the speech produced. Ronald C. White Jr. Has provided the background and staging to make this speech even more amazing. In one book we learn more about President Lincoln, more about the Civil War, more about slavery and more about human psychology. A great book about a great speech.
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on November 21, 2012
I was forced to read this book as a part of an AP English summer reading assignment, but I ended up enjoying this more than East of Eden (probably since I was coming off a US history summer course and I could relate). Anyways, this book holds plenty of depth and it accurately depicts the speech and the surrounding events from several different viewpoints. The only monotonous part was the end where he lists reactions to the speech, but all in all this is a great book.
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on August 4, 2015
Great book. Fascinating and enjoyable reading including MANY relatively unknown yet significant elements surrounding Lincoln's message and method AND faith! (Ever hear of Ft. Pillow? This is stuff we need to hear today!) Highly recommended. Where are the LINCOLNS we so need in our generation?
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I picked up Ronald White's impressive book to learn not only about Lincoln's March 4, 1865, Second Inaugural Address, but also about persuasive speech. And learn I did. Thus, I think others who speak or write about things important will be instructed by Lincoln and White's analysis of his effective rhetoric. For them, that alone will be worth the price of the book.
But there is much more in these pages. I'm neither a Lincoln scholar nor an historian, and I'm not sure what I was expecting, but when I read histories I first check for the wide range of material the authors draw upon. I then look for the care they take not to read into their texts and sources what they want readers to hear, but to read out of them what they actually say and to tell us what they have found between the lines. I appreciated White's integrity and discipline in this regard.
I also found myself fascinated by both the president's penetrating insights into human nature and White's deft ability to spell them out. I was impressed, too, with the author's lucid descriptions of the historical setting, emotional context and profound theological influences that shaped Lincoln and his address. They helped me to identify with the president as he struggled to heal and unify the nation and to see why he approached his daunting task the way he did. Moreover, both White's competence as an historian and his training in theology helped me to understand better not only this critical American moment, but also to grasp what Lincoln's message says to us today.
When finished reading, I went to our back bedroom to be alone. I read the speech to myself several times. Then I stood at the window and looked down on the plants in our garden, envisioning them as Lincoln's inaugural audience. Then, imagining I were the president at his podium, giving his greatest speech to the war-weary people before him, I read his words aloud, trying to capture his cadence, milking his use of alliteration, and pausing to stress what I now believed he wanted to emphasize. I don't cry at the drop of a hat, but as I read the last paragraph -- "With malice toward none; with charity for all ... a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations." -- my brain brought me back to our present world. Tears filled my eyes, and I could hardly finish.
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on February 9, 2017
fascinating insight, especially in view of what is happening to our country and the executive office today.
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on March 2, 2002
For those of us who have always sensed that the 2nd inaugural speech rivals and in some ways even surpasses the more acclaimed Gettysburg Address, Ronald White's book is a masterly vindication. In it White carefully traces the speech's genesis and follows its implications, both political and moral. The clear message is that the themes of conciliation, justice, equality, and compassion apply in all social contexts, not just in this one historical moment in early 1865. The distance between Lincoln as a statesman and today's politicians is even greater in style and substance than in years. What politician today would dare to call for equality and conciliation when it's so much easier (and profitable) to sabre-rattle and flag-wave?
Of special interest and value is White's reflections on what Lincoln might mean in his almost apocalyptic references in the speech to divine will and bloodshed, as well as Lincoln's almost agonized acknowledgment that religious convictions can be used to defend opposite sides of an issue. (As Lincoln says in his speech, "Both [the North and the South] read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other..."). The conclusion? Be extremely wary about claiming divine favor in conflicts.
All in all, an excellent, insightful, well-written book. Anyone interested in White's book might also appreciate William Miller's recently published *Lincoln's Ethics.*
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on January 21, 2017
So very well done. I have recommended this book to friends and colleagues
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on December 13, 2016
My husband is reading it and enjoying it very much.
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