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President Lincoln by [Miller, William Lee]
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President Lincoln Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Length: 512 pages Word Wise: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Product Details

  • File Size: 571 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (February 5, 2008)
  • Publication Date: February 5, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0011UJM8Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,113,286 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
William Lee Miller is one of the most readable and thoughtful of modern American historians. His utterly captivating "Arguing About Slavery," concerning John Quincy Adams' battle against the Gag Rule in Congress, made me a committed fan of both Adams and Miller. Miller followed with "Lincoln's Virtues," a penetrating meditation on the decency and moral character of Lincoln that focussed mainly on his life before 1861.

"President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman," is a delight. As the title reflects, this volume deals with Lincoln's years as President. Miller is well-versed in the vast reaches of Lincoln scholarship. Unlike the best-selling "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kerns Goodwin, however, Miller actually provides new and revelatory insights that further enhance Lincoln's reputation. Of the current coterie of authors on Lincoln, I have yet to find one who has spent the time Miller does on addressing the substance of Lincoln's critical July 4, 1861 message to Congress, where Lincoln denounced the "farcical" pretence of secession and demolished the myth of state sovereignty as he asked Congress for money and men to fight a war that had become much fiercer than almost anyone had imagined. Douglas Wilson, in "Lincoln's Sword," provides an excellent and in-depth discussion of the drafting of this document but he skirts much of the real substance - which remains controversial in some quarters. Miller shows how Lincoln carefully maneuvered between Union and emancipation. He does not avoid controversy. The message to Congress emerges as a central document in Lincoln's development and in the ongoing debate over "states' rights."

One intriguing episode Miller describes concerns the cashiering of Major John J. Key, who was the brother of one of General McClellan's top aides.
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Format: Hardcover
Wlliam Lee Miller's new book on US President Abraham Lincoln focuses entirely on the 1861-1865 period when Lincoln was chief executive and the nation suffered through a horrendous Civil War. Miller is an eloquent author and an expert on Lincoln. His book is a combination of narrative laced with a detailed study of several of the moral issues the Kentucky railsplitter faced in office. Among these Gordian Knot problems upon which Lincoln had to decide were:
1. Whether to supply Fort Sumter by sea or allow the Charleston SC.fort to be surrendered to the new Confederate government without a shot being fired? Lincoln had promised to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution in his inaugural address on March 4, 1861. He believed the President of the United States should defend our territory so refused to give up on Sumter. The Confederates fired on the fort leading to a declaration of war with the United States. The Civil War would cost over
600,000 lives-2/3 of them because of disease and insanitary conditions.
2. Lincoln made the decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in Confederate controlled areas as of January 1, 1863. As a wily politician this act did not apply to slaves held in Union held but slave states. All African-Americans in bondage would be freed by the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution following the great emancipator's death
by assassination on April 15, 1865.
3. Miller cites several examples of Lincoln's mercy to soldiers convicted by court martial. He could be tough refusing to save the life of Nathaniel Gordon a slave ship owner and a man who shot a white officer leading a parade of black soldiers in Norfolk, Va. Lincoln was a kind and merciful man who was without hubris or self-glorification.
4.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in our greatest president and his time in office. Professor Miller is a wonderful master of his subject.

Abraham Lincoln is rightfully remembered here for the actions he took during the short time he actually served in the White House. This is not a book about Mr. Lincoln's youth, his career in Illinois, or his family life. How this statesman balanced power, people, and ethics in reaching his twin noble objectives is laid out in a most compelling way by William Lee Miller.

(I especially found interesting the material presented on President Lincoln's use of the pardoning power.)

Purchase this book for yourself, or a friend who may question why the world still celebrates a politician who was born almost two hundred years ago.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Miller had an almost throwaway line about halfway through the book where he stated his opinion that Lincoln was the most intelligent president we've ever had, bar none -- not even Jefferson.

And, by the time I got done, I came to the impression that this statement (with which I heartily agree) was the fulcrum of the whole book.

Miller breaks Lincoln's Civil War activities down into easily reviewed and analyzed chunks, and in doing so, parses, pulls out, and displays Lincoln's intelligence undergoing presidential growth, meeting the challenges and rising to the occasion.

A couple of other specifics. Miller does an excellent job of defending Lincoln against improperly revisionist historians' (there are properly revisionist historians) charges of racism or similar. Lincoln was moderatly left of center on racial enlightenment, in terms of his day and age, even before becoming president, and grew vastly after taking office. As for colonization ideas, Lincoln was not racist, nor was he alone in proposing colonization, nor was he alone in why he proposed it.

Miller is not a hagiographer, though. He points out that Lincoln did have one notable weakness, indeed somewhat of a failing, in his administration -- Indian affairs. The 1862 Minnesota Sioux uprising and its aftermath are cited as evidence.

That said, had Lincoln served a second term, free from the Civil War, although dealing with Reconstruction, I certainly agree with the implied idea of Miller that Lincoln would have exhibited the same degree of growth in Indian affairs as he did elsewhere.
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