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Publisher's Summary

Whether he was composing love letters, speeches, or legal arguments, words mattered to Abraham Lincoln. An admirer and avid reader of Byron, Burns, and Shakespeare, Lincoln was the most literary of our presidents. His views on love, liberty and human nature were all shaped by his reading and knowledge of literature.

Kaplan explores Lincoln's life through his use of language as a vehicle for complex ideas and feelings and as an instrument of persuasion and empowerment. Like the other great canonical writers of American literature - a status he is gradually attaining - Lincoln had a literary career that is inseparable from his life story.

Kaplan focuses on the elements that shaped the form of Lincoln's mental and imaginative world: how his use of language molded his identity, relationships, and career; and how it simultaneously generated both the distinctive political figure he became and the public discourse of the nation.

Since Lincoln, no president has written his own words and addressed his audience with equal and enduring effectiveness. Kaplan's unique account of Lincoln's life and career highlights the shortcomings of the modern presidency and reminds us that the effective and honest use of language is a necessity for a successful democracy.

©2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.; ©2008 Fred Kaplan

Critic Reviews

"A fresh, revealing study of both Lincoln's language and character." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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  • Overall

This deserved a better reading

Sometines the content simply can't overcome a wooden, uninflected reading. I don't know what happened here; but, my Kindle II reads better than this narrator. In fact, the TI Speak and Spell would give him a run for the money.

The narrator should be forced to listen to this flat and uninspired reading so that he would swear, by all that's holy in literature, never to treat any material to this form of abuse ever again.

The irony is that it is about the roots of Lincoln's gift as a speaker and writer.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alexis
  • Richmond, CA, USA
  • 01-29-09

Beautiful, essential biography!

Thank you, Mr. Kaplan and Brilliance Audio, for a wonderful rendition of this fabulous book. Every paragraph is beautiful, wise, insightful, and the narrator has done a splendid job with the reading. I strongly recommend this book to all readers and lovers of fine literature. It is destined to become a classic.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A different look at Lincoln

Lincoln, the writer, and someone I have never met before. I have read many books about him but never about his writing specifically. There was lots of new information and a fresh look at some of his speeches. The reader was boring, pausing in the wrong spots and then for sizing the wrong words.