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A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. I, 1809 – 1849 Hardcover – May 10, 2016
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“A breathtaking new view of Abraham Lincoln." (The National Memo)
“Splendid . . . Blumenthal’s work of building the context for Lincoln’s political activism in the presidential elections of 1836 through 1848 is a miracle of detail and his six chapters on Lincoln as a congressman in antebellum Washington are worth the price of the book alone. . . . Never have we had such an exquisite warp of the ins and outs of political life in the 1830s and ’40s laid across the weft of Lincoln’s individual trajectory. Rarely has a Lincoln biographer come to his task with such elegance of style. . . . Here is a great book, on a theme that too many people disdain to regard as great. That they are wrong about the theme, and wrong about Lincoln, is the burden of Blumenthal’s labor, and no one can come away from reading A Self-Made Man without understanding that, or without eagerly anticipating the ensuing volumes.” (Allen Guelzo Washington Monthly)
“Terrific . . . The Lincoln of Blumenthal’s pen is a cunning Whig floor leader in Illinois, a brave progressive facing racist assaults on his religion, ethnicity, and very legitimacy that echo the anti-Obama birther movement. . . . Blumenthal takes the wily pol of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals and goes deeper, finding a Vulcan logic and House of Cards ruthlessness.” (The Washingtonian)
“Engaging and informative . . . lively . . . full of thought-provoking observations about the factors that went into Lincoln's makeup.” (Christian Science Monitor)
“A terrific read, teeming with 19th-century life, from the down and dirty politics of 1830s Illinois to Lincoln’s single term in Congress at the end of the 1840s.” (The Guardian)
“Lincoln again? Not to worry. Just stand back and let this first volume of a planned four-volume treatment reveal its glowing qualities. . . . A fascinating perspective during a presidential election cycle.” (Booklist, starred review)
"In beautiful style…Blumenthal’s Lincoln is a terrific read. I can’t wait for the next volume." (The Buffalo News)
“Engrossing . . . Blumenthal takes the reader deep into Illinois and national politics to locate the character and content of Lincoln's ideas, interests, and identity, and to understand his driving ambition to succeed in law and politics. . . . [Blumenthal] effectively shows that the president's Illinois was a proving ground for the politics of expansion, economic development, nativism, anti-Mormonism, and slavery that both reflected and affected national concerns.” (Library Journal)
“A tremendous historical and political contribution.” (Huffington Post)
“No one would have guessed that it would be Lincoln who emerged to save the union, abolish slavery and preserve American democracy. Future volumes of Blumenthal's engaging and well-crafted biography promise to show why.” (Civil War Times)
About the Author
Sidney Blumenthal is the former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, and senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. He has been a national staff reporter for The Washington Post, Washington editor and staff writer for The New Yorker, senior writer for The New Republic, and contributed to numerous additional publications. His books include the bestselling The Clinton Wars, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment, and The Permanent Campaign. Among his films, he was the executive producer of the Academy and Emmy Award–winning Taxi to the Dark Side.