In the best-selling tradition of Truman, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer David Herbert Donald offers a new classic in American history and biography - a masterly account of how one man's extraordinary political acumen steered the Union to victory in the Civil War, and of how his soaring rhetoric gave meaning to that agonizing struggle for nationhood and equality.
Donald spent 50 years studying Lincoln, tracing his rise from humble origins to the pinnacle of the presidency. He reveals the development of the future president's character and shows how Lincoln's enormous capacity for growth enabled one of the least experienced men ever elected to high office to become a giant in the annals of American politics. And he depicts a man who was basically passive by nature, yet ambitious enough to take enormous risks and overcome repeated defeats.
Much more than a political biography, Lincoln seats us behind the desk of a president who was both a master of ambiguity and expediency and a great moral leader, as he makes the decisions that preserved the Union and shaped modern America.
©2011 David Herbert Donald (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
"A grand work - the Lincoln biography for this generation." (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.)
"Lincoln immediately takes its place among the best of the genre, and it is unlikely that it will be surpassed in elegance, incisiveness and originality in this century.... A book of investigative tenacity, interpretive boldness and almost acrobatic balance." (Chicago Tribune)
"Eagerly awaited, Lincoln fulfills expectations. Donald writes with lucidity and elegance." (The Atlantic)
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is, at times, a dry and technical read and at other times becomes touching or funny. Overall I was very satisfied. This biography of Lincoln seems to be quite unbiased and follows the facts wherever they lead. The author tries to present a history based upon what Lincoln actually knew at the time, leaving out facts that we now know, but Lincoln had no way of knowing. This book has a lot of peripheral information that places other historical facts in context (for example how big Lincoln’s house was compared with the average in the area). This history presents Lincoln as a hero, but as an imperfect, ambiguous, and human hero. Although this was a bit of a less fun read then Team of Rivals, overall I found this the more satisfying history.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a more indepth presentation of the history of Lincoln's time and the context of that time. I finished "Team of Rivals" prior to this book and found the greater extent of "Lincoln" to round out my understanding of the historical context for what caused the actions to play out as they did.
I think it is very complementary to "Team of Rivals" and the book I am reading now "Battle Cry of Freedom". I think "Team of Rivals" was more of "story" whereas "Lincoln" offers a more comprehensive insight beyond the personalities of the Administration.
There were times where the quality of the recording demonstrated post editing.
I don't think you could make this much of a detailed presentation into a film...it would require a historic documentary and might miss the strength of the work.
I enjoyed the book very much and appreciated the way in which the book was developed to provide the details it offered.
Writer of The Majick Series
This book is a bit sub par.
This is the first I have listened to by David Herbert Donald. It was more like a text book with some narration added for filler.
It seemed to be read by multiple people. I attribute this to the editing and mastering of the audio and not the performance.
Certainly not. Very boring at times due to the style in which it was written. But it was very informative and had some good lessons in placing the political and social climate into context with why certain decisions were made.
The book is a good history lesson. It should not be sold as a biography. It was good as a history lesson but not, in my opinion as a way to get a better insight into President Lincoln.
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