I have read and enjoyed a number of books by Lincoln scholar, Gordon Leidner. His passion for and knowledge of his subject are increasingly evident with the release of each book.
Leidner’s earlier books such as Abraham Lincoln: Quotes, Quips, and Speeches masterfully compiled the 16th President’s own words to give us a glimpse into Lincoln's leadership, values, faith and character. Later books such as Lincoln's Gift: How Humor Shaped Lincoln's Life and Legacy presented some more human and complex aspects of his character.
Leidner’s most recent work, "Conversations with Lincoln: Little Known Stories from Those Who Met America’s 16th President" is his best. In contrast to the Lincoln we know from his public speeches and history books, "Conversations" takes us behind the scenes to reveal Lincoln’s noble and selfless character as recounted by those who met and interacted with him personally.
Lincoln was by far our nation’s most accessible President. It is astounding that during the height of the Civil War the White House was open to so many visitors, as people literally lined up for an audience with the President. In "Conversations", we get a glimpse of the President as recounted by the many people-- small and great; soldiers and congressmen; men, women and children of all socioeconomic backgrounds-- who sought and received Lincoln’s help or intervention with their particular situations.
Each conversation recorded in Leidner’s masterful work offers a captivating glimpse into Lincoln’s kindness, compassion and generosity. This is a very heart warming, inspiring and worthwhile read.