16 - Abraham Lincoln

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16 - Abraham Lincoln

Editado: Jan 2, 2011, 12:55pm

The Real Lincoln
Lincoln by David Herbert Donald
Team of Rivals
Lincoln's Melancholy
Tried by War
The Case of Abraham Lincoln
Reelecting Lincoln
The Great Comeback: How Abraham Lincoln Beat the Odds to Win the 1860 Republican Nomination
With Malice Toward None Stephen Oates
Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter

Lincoln was the first president to have a beard while in office.
Lincoln, Nebraska was named after Abraham Lincoln.
During the Civil War, telegraph wires were strung to follow the action on the battlefield. But there was no telegraph office in the White House, so Lincoln went across the street to the War Department to get the news.
Lincoln was the tallest president. He was 6 feet and four inches tall.
Lincoln was shot on Good Friday.
He was the first president to be photographed at his inauguration. John Wilkes Booth (his assassin) can be seen standing close to Lincoln in the picture.
Lincoln was the only president to receive a patent, for a device for lifting boats over shoals.
Lincoln's brother, half-brothers, and brothers-in-law fought in the Confederate Army.
Abraham Lincoln was shot while watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. The same play was also running at the McVerick Theatre in Chicago on May 18, 1860, the day Lincoln was nominated for president in that city.
Abraham Lincoln grew his beard out of the suggestion of an 11 year old girl.
John Wilkes Booth's brother once saved Abraham Lincoln's son's life.
Abe Lincoln is the U.S. president most frequently portrayed in films.
Lincoln and his wife held seances in the White House. They had great interest in psychic phenomena.
Lincoln loved the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
Abraham Lincoln was the first president to be born outside of the original thirteen colonies. He was born in Kentucky.

Dez 21, 2008, 7:00pm

It certainly won't be hard to find books about Lincoln, but I just read about a couple of new books that are coming out for the 200th Anniversary of Lincoln's birth.

A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White Jr will be published in January. It weighs in at 816 pages. However, Abraham Lincoln: A Presidential Life by James McPherson is only 96 pages.It comes out in February. McPherson recently wrote Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief, which I've heard good things about, so I may try to pick this one up when it comes out. It sounds like a good starting place (and a nice way to move the ticker up!).

Jan 6, 2009, 7:20am

The Real Lincoln by Thomas DiLorenzo. Takes a good, hard look at the constitutionality of decisions and proclamations made by A.Lincoln before and amid the Civil War, and the consequences that we still see today.

Fev 11, 2009, 10:59pm

I just finished watching a PBS broadcast of a show called Looking for Lincoln. It was tremendous. There is a companion book called Looking for Lincoln : The Making of an American Icon which is a collaboration of many Lincoln scholars - black and white - and is part 2 of Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography. I think I have to add this to my Lincoln pile next year. I now have 12 books for Lincoln. I'm making him an entire category next year.

Mar 4, 2009, 5:49pm

I was reading somewhere today that Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the exact same day.

I'm thinking that, for Lincoln and FDR, two "huge" presidential names, I may just start with the American Presidents volumes about them and then read in more detail about the more interesting parts of their lives. I picked up the American Presidents volume on FDR at the library today, in fact.

Editado: Mar 15, 2009, 1:35pm

I have just completed my #4 President. I have previously read the Donald biography of Lincoln so I read Reelecting Lincoln by John C. Waugh. Explains how close Lincoln came to not being reelected and what was to be some of the possibe ramifications for the country if he had not.

Maio 5, 2009, 1:39pm

Realized I haven't mentioned yet that I have read Lincoln's Melancholy and Team of Rivals - both are excellent, I highly recommend them!

The first attempts to take a psychological profile of Lincoln and assesses that his melancholia, may have been undiagnosed depression. It analyzes events that may have triggered or exacerbated it as well, and ultimately argues that dealing with it made Lincoln stronger and able to cope with all the pressures of the Civil War.

The second is a multiple-biography of Lincoln and his cabinet. It's thesis is that Lincoln was a political mastermind because of his skills is getting elected and for appointing his rivals for the nomination to cabinet positions. The book makes the point that Lincoln recognized that while he may not be everyone's first choice for president, he could be enough people's second choice to get elected. By appointing Seward, Chase, Stanton, etc. to cabinet level positions, he was able to maintain control over them, and ultimately won them to his point of view on a number of issues. The biographies and interests of these often overlooked side characters made the reflection on Lincoln and the situation that much deeper and personable. Highly highly highly recommended if you haven't already read it.

Jun 13, 2009, 11:15pm

I have read Team of Rivals a couple of years ago, a great book and one of my favorites.

I just finished Tried by War by James M. McPherson which is not an in-depth "biography" of Lincoln, but McPherson is one of the best Civil War historians out there right now. As McPherson explains at the beginning, there is not that many books/research focusing mainly on Lincoln as the Commander-in-Chief (leader of the military) and McPherson does so in detail. An easy read, but don't go into expecting intensive detail about the Civil War, but still shows a lot about the political genius that is Lincoln. Lincoln was a soldier, but as he said his biggest fight was against the mosquitoes, but he appeared to have great military acumen and was constantly awaiting telegraphs about the latest news from the battlegrounds. Lincoln's bad luck seem to be stuck with bad generals who were the best choice at the time (like George McClellan) and at the same time dealing with the slave question and political rivals.

Set 1, 2009, 8:48pm

So far on Lincoln I have read "Lincoln" by David Herbert Donald

The Case of Abraham Lincoln -- Fenster

Reelecting Lincoln -- waugh

Of course almost every book about the Civil War is also about Lincoln to some degree.

I know fiction doesn't count here but perhaps we should make an exception Lincoln: A Novel by Gore Vidal; no biographer could capture the man as he probably was in life as well as Vidal did

Editado: Out 22, 2010, 9:49am

Abraham Lincoln; the prairie years and the war years by Carl Sandburg - finished 8/23/2010

Streetscapes | Astor House
Where Lincoln Tossed and Turned
Published: September 27, 2009
Lincoln chose to stay at New York’s most famous hotel, the Astor House, when he arrived in 1860.

Fev 13, 2010, 9:12pm

In honor of Lincoln's birthday, I read The Great Comeback: How Abraham Lincoln Beat the Odds to Win the 1860 Republican Nomination by Gary Ecelbarger, which I just finished. I purchased this book in the little book shop at the Lincoln Memorial on my first visit to that amazing shrine last year. I have read many books on Lincoln in the past and I would not rank this at the top, although I did learn some new facts about the political macinations that won Lincoln his party's nomination in 1860. It is a well-written, focused book, but it is not a compelling narrative and lacks the kind of anecdotal scenery that could otherwise have brought the period and its subject to life more sharply.

Abr 25, 2010, 7:58pm

With Malice Toward None by Stephen Oates

Abraham Lincoln is one of the giants of American history. By this, I mean that so much has been written about him and his times that it's hard to get one's arms around the subject. Just like Washington and Jefferson, one could spend a lifetime of reading and find that there's still more to be read. Where to start?

With Malice Toward None serves well as an introductory biography of Lincoln. On the one hand, Oates makes his subject come alive. On the other hand, Lincoln is more than he appears here. I left this work wanting to dig much deeper - perhaps that's the best recommendation for a popular biography of such a complex man.

Abr 25, 2010, 8:45pm

I long ago abandoned this biography because it disturbed me that he kept trying to articulate Lincoln's thoughts via speculation. Not my kind of history.

Abr 27, 2010, 8:54pm

Not going to throw Battle cry of freedom into the mix, or is already in there? I guess its not a biography per se.

Abr 27, 2010, 9:11pm

That looks like a really good list! I'd like to come back to Lincoln at some point and dig in deeper. I think Team of RIvals will be one of the first I dip into.

Abr 28, 2010, 2:46pm

Interestingly, Nothing like it in the world mentions Lincoln quite a lot. I had no idea that he was involved at all with the transcontinental railroad. But apparently he was an early supporter, even before being nominated, and had met with the main engineer/promoter Ted Jonah, as well as Dodge and others at various points. Lincoln was helpful in getting the bill passed to enable the incorporation of the companies building it.

Compared to the other things Lincoln did and accomplished, this is probably pretty minor. But its ignored completely in the books I've read thus far.

Interestingly, while both the North and the South wanted a transcontinental rail in the antebellum years, the route was the point of contention and neither side had the congressional votes to secure it. The succession of the South and thereby its Senators/Representatives made the railroad possible, with the northern route of course being chosen.

Abr 28, 2010, 7:00pm


I do have Battle Cry of Freedom on my Civil War list.

Editado: Abr 29, 2010, 6:24pm

Cyderry, The final Lincoln book on the list should be April 1865 by Winik -- an outstanding narrative by a terrific writer of arguably the most momentous month in American history since November 1800. That month of course includes Lincoln's assasination and its aftermath.

I have read a number of works on Lincoln. Although he is a fascinating character, I have found most biographical treatments less than satisfactory. The Donald biography, "Lincoln", for example, was especially dry and uninspiring, although critics widely consider it to be the definitive biography of Lincoln. I have already noted my abandonment of With Malice Towards None. In addition to the Donald book I did read The Case of Abraham Lincoln by Fenster and most recently The Great Comeback: How Abraham Lincoln Beat the Odds to win the 1860 Republican Nomination by Ecelberger. Both of these are interesting studies although far from monumental works. I do however highly recommend Reelecting Lincoln by Waugh -- which is great -- as well as the fictional Vidal biography Lincoln. Gore Vidal manages to realistically re-animate the long dead Lincoln like no historian to date.

My TBR includes Team of Rivals by Goodwin and "Lincoln, The War President" by Boritt. I also may one day get to the set of Sandburg bios decorating my shelf. Like many people, I find it difficult to get enough of Lincoln.

Maio 2, 2010, 12:30pm

I think that Lincoln at Cooper Union is a book that deserves to be added to this list. Lincoln's speech at Cooper Union in February of 1860 is seen as being very instrumental in his election as President. The speech was written in opposition to a statement by Stephen Douglas about the attitudes of the Founding Fathers on Federal control of slavery in the Federal territories. After this speech he made a number of other speeches in New York and New England which helped his popularity in that area.
I have read Tried by War and I thought it was one of McPherson's lesser efforts. I thought that Lincoln and His Generals, about Lincoln's relationships with the commanders of the Army of the Potomac, covered much of the same material and was a better book.

Maio 2, 2010, 2:46pm

Bill, I have also heard positive reviews of this book. Maybe one day ...

Maio 15, 2010, 12:26am

I read the Oates book, With Malice Toward None.
When I read it for the first time, some time ago now, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. That puts it just above average in my opinion. I got the sort of information I was looking for, a fairly good feel for the man. What I remembered most was a skinny, gangly kid who walked for miles, traveled miles by boat, read a lot and who had a healthy desire to be a lawyer.
On re-reading it after seeing the criticisms of it above, I haven't changed my mind. But this time the main impression I have of Lincoln is more of the times really - it was a revolutionary time all around the world.

Jul 13, 2010, 3:58pm

I finally finished Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter, the first in my study of Lincoln.

It's hard to believe that a book this large was devoted only to the activities surrounding one man in a 3½ month period of time. It was extremely detailed in the activities of Abraham Lincoln following his election as President of the United States from Election Day until his inauguration.

The book was filled with numerous quotes and stories of Abraham Lincoln at this time. However, I think that in the long run, it was too detailed when it came to the day to day activities and could have been shortened with some good editing.

Jul 15, 2010, 11:07am

Your latest sounds like it may have been written by a scholar who was suffering from the publish or perish syndrome.

Jul 15, 2010, 12:55pm

There are many, many books about Lincoln that are devoted to very short, very specific periods of his life. Lincoln is considered the nation's greatest President by most historians (followed by Washington & FDR, in that order) and because he had such a powerful impact upon our nation in the crisis of Civil War, there are numerous scholars who focus upon very narrow aspects of his life and career.

I have read three of these books: The Case of Abraham Lincoln by Fenster and The Great Comeback: How Abraham Lincoln Beat the Odds to Win the 1860 Republican Nomination by Ecelbarger and Reelecting Lincoln by Waugh. The Waugh book is the best of these.

In any case, unless you are really interested in Lincoln I would recommend skipping these kinds of studies and look to a more general bio. To my mind, the book that best captures the essential Lincoln is not a biography at all, but a historical novel, Gore Vidal's Lincoln

Editado: Jul 15, 2010, 3:32pm

I am really interested in Lincoln that's why the rest of my historical reading for the year surrounds the Civil War and its leaders. This is the list of books that I am considering.

Lincoln and his Admirals
The two American Presidents : a dual biography of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis
Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee
Desperate engagement : how a little-known Civil War battle saved Washington, D.C., and changed the course of American history
Confederate Ordeal: The Southern Home Front : The Civil War
The South vs. the South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners Shaped the Course of the Civil War
Why the South lost the Civil War
Out of the storm : the end of the Civil War, April-June 1865
Don't know much about the Civil War
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief
With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln
Team of Rivals (Lincoln cabinet) just started this one
A House Reunited

There are a few others. It comes to about 15 books of which 5 are centered on Lincoln.

Editado: Jul 15, 2010, 10:02pm

I recommend April 1865 which while not specifically about Lincoln does an incredible job of capturing the drama of that pivotal month, which included Lincoln's assasination. I would skip With Malice Toward None I would definitely recommend Reelecting Lincoln by Waugh. The standard all inclusive bio is "Abraham Lincoln" by David Herbert Donald which has a great deal of scholarly respect but I found quite dry although informative. I have heard great things about "Lincoln: The War President" by Boritt which sits on my shelf, as yet unread, as does Team of Rivals. And don't skip the Vidal novel -- required reading!

Jul 16, 2010, 4:32pm

Not reading any novels only historically accurate non-fiction so Vidal is out.
I am not planning on reading a specific Biography of Lincoln since there are so many books about specific aspects of his life I'm planing on concentrating on those. I also think that the dual bio of Lincoln/Davis should have the basics of his early life for comparison.

I've already read 1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and the War they Failed to See and Lincoln President-Elect : Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861.

I'm curious, what is IYO the problem with With Malice Toward None?

Jul 17, 2010, 11:38pm

Cheli- I know the challenge says no novels, but everyone who has read it says that Vidal's book is the definitive "if you can only read one"--I plan to read it along with others, but don't skip it sis...it would be a regrettable mistake.

Jul 18, 2010, 9:25pm

With Malice Towards None is full of psycho-babble which when it was written (in the '70's) was topically acceptable history but critics would rip it today. I started to read it many years ago but stopped after page 30 or so. His style is to get into Lincoln's head and think as if he was in Lincoln's mind. Look, I'll read Vidal for that and love it, but scholarly history -- NFW!

Jul 18, 2010, 11:35pm

Good to know, thank you both.

Ago 10, 2010, 5:14pm

I finally finished Team of Rivals. What a great book!
Defnitely one to recommend for Lincoln.

I picked up the Gore Vidal Lincoln - but I'm not sure I can fit it into my schedule. We'll see.

Ago 11, 2010, 7:47pm

If you start Vidal you won't put it down. It IS that good. I read it three times and I do not read historical novels. Only Vidal's other earlier opus, "Burr", can be said to rival it

Ago 11, 2010, 8:41pm

I've been thinking about the Vidal book. I think that I'm going to save it for the end of the year.

Ago 16, 2010, 5:11pm

With Malice Toward None
by Stephan B. Oates

Two things struck me the most when reading this book. One was Lincoln's inexperience and shortcomings. After reading about the one term wonders of the 1840s and 50s, I was subconsciously expecting an account of the American demigod they gave us in grade school. Instead, it seemed that Lincoln fit right in with his predecessors. (Had I been voting in 1860 (and could stomach all the racists claptrap) I might have voted for Douglas) Lincoln made some bone-headed mistakes and more than once trusted the wrong person. But--at least to hear Mr. Oates tell it--Lincoln was able to stick to his principals, weather the storms and overcome his errors. The second thing that grabbed my attention was the political turning point that the election of 1860 became. After a number of biographies about men making compromises over slavery, it was refreshing to have someone say, "Enough."

Dez 28, 2010, 5:41pm

I read quite a few Lincoln books. Team of Rivals was excellent, but a little too worshipful, which tends to be the case with bios by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Abraham Lincoln by George McGovern was a nice short look at the president's life, which surprisingly, didn't sugarcoat the civil liberties issues with Lincoln's presidency. A nice book for someone who is just starting to learn about him.

I chose Lincoln Unmasked to try to find some history that was not so worshipful of Lincoln, but the book was basically a libertarian screed written by a hack who spent most of the time disparaging Lincoln scholars and trying to convince you that ol' Abe was the most evil man who walked the planet. Made a bunch of strawman arguments, and left out information that didn't fit the narrative. I emailed the author with a biting critique of the book, but he never emailed back. I wouldn't recommend it.

The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln by Paludan was an outstanding account of the presidency and shines some light on some of his domestic achievements, while most accounts focus on the war, rightfully so, I guess.

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald was definitely the best of the bunch. Starts from the very beginning, and shows the man warts and all. Focuses on, despite the fact that he knew how intelligent that he was, how unsure he could be about himself, especially when it came to being the commander in chief. Goes into some detail about his complicated marriage and questions of faith. Discusses civil liberties violations in depth without being overly judgmental. It really captures what the man was like. If I had to recommend one Lincoln book, this would be it.

Dez 28, 2010, 7:21pm

The Donald book is very well written but I found it tedious to read. (Donald also feels it necessary to devote as much time to Lincoln's life before his role on the national stage began as after it and there just isn't enough material to justify that.) Lincoln was a fascinating man with a great wit and intellect. I think Lincoln would have been bored to tears by Donald's book, as I was. I have read something like 8 Lincoln books and the one that brings him to life most accurately is the Gore Vidal novel. If only we could find a biographer who could animate Lincoln like that within the framework of a factual treatment. If only Richard Reeves could write a Lincoln bio!

Maio 4, 2011, 5:26pm

I have read Lincoln and enjoyed it immensly. I found the information from his younger days to be helpful in understanding him in his presidency. Another one by David Herbert Donald is We are Lincoln Men, which gives an account of Lincoln's closest friend. Manhunt does give an account of Lincoln last hours and the serach for his killers. I thought Jefferson Davis might give some mention of lincoln, but gave very little.

Maio 23, 2011, 10:45am

I finally made it back to the Presidents Challenge. I've never read that much about the Civil War so before tackling a Lincoln bio, I first read A Civil War: Narrative by Shelby Foote. That was an excellent read!

For my Lincoln bio, I read A. Lincoln:A Biography by Ronald C. White. The book was a very good read. It covered Lincoln's early life of which I knew very little. Since I'm an amateur genealogist, the tracing of Lincoln's ancestors was very interesting to me. My only complaint about the book it that it ended very abruptly. A summary of what happened to Lincoln's family and to at least some of his cabinet members would have been nice.

Maio 23, 2011, 5:32pm

Good to know, I have also wanted to read White's bio. Team of Rivals does talk about his cabinet and I would imagine when you read on Andrew Johnson that will at least talk more about Seward.

Set 14, 2011, 9:58pm

Just finished reading Lincoln: President-Elect– Harold Holzer. Some interesting additional details that fills in the blanks about Lincoln's controversial relative silence in the months between his election and inauguration, overall this was hardly a compelling narrative. I don't recommend it, except for serious Lincoln scholars & nerds like me . . .


Out 26, 2011, 5:47pm

I tried to read Ronald C. White's biog of Lincoln, but I found the writing to be 8th-graderish. Example: "Arriving {in Indiana} with his family in the late fall of 1816 at the age of seven, Lincoln would grow from a boy to a youth to a young man who would prove different from any young man (emphasis mine) in the world around him." Really?

That statement is just sort of silly. In reality, Lincoln wasn't all that different from a lot of young men who grew up to be "civilizers" who were the sons of frontier families. He worked as a clerk in a village store; he fought in the Black Hawk War; he became a partner in a village store that went bankrupt; he was appointed Postmaster of his town; he became a county surveyor; he was elected to the Illinois General Assembly; he studied law and received his law license. Lincoln was clearly ambitious, but he wasn't "different from any young man in the world around him." I have numerous men in my family tree who had similar biographies, young men who were sons of frontiersmen, born in the early 1800s, who lived in Kentucky/Indiana/Illinois. I have no patience for hagiography, particularly with someone like Lincoln, who already suffers at the hands of historians from a "Saint Lincoln" complex.

I've decided instead to read the book by David Herbert Donald, Lincoln.

Out 26, 2011, 7:19pm

#42 Donald's book is very highly regarded. I read it. One of the dullest narratives I've ever encountered. It is factually accurate but fails to capture the essence of Lincoln. I've read many books on Lincoln and he is an elusive character in this regard. Vidal's novel is the only thing that comes close and that's not a bio of course ...

Editado: Jan 25, 2012, 9:48pm

Well, I've finally decided that I've had enough of Lincoln and the Civil War with 31 books. I'm sure when I get to Grant's bio I'll get a touch more on the war, but for now, this is it.

1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and the War they Failed to See
Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War
A Separate Country
Lincoln President-Elect : Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861
Team of Rivals (Lincoln cabinet)
Clash of cavalry; the Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief
Desperate engagement : how a little-known Civil War battle saved Washington, D.C., and changed the course of American history
RED Badge of Courage
This Republic of Suffering
Confederate Ordeal: The Southern Home Front : The Civil War
Killer Angels
The South vs. the South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners Shaped the Course of the Civil War
Civil War at Sea
Lincoln and his Admirals
If the South had won the Civil War
A House Reunited
Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee
1864 : Lincoln at the gates of history
Mr. Lincoln's high-tech war
Southern storm : Sherman's march to the sea
Amelia's War
The American Civil War : a military history
The siege of Washington : the untold story of the twelve days that shook the Union
Journal of a Civil War Nurse
Mr. Lincoln's forts : a guide to the Civil War defenses of Washington
Uncle Tom's Cabin
A Confederate Girl's Diary
Wild Rose : Rose O'Neale Greenhow, Civil War spy
April 1865

Nov 19, 2011, 10:32am

Wow impressive list. But don't give up on the Civil War & Lincoln till you've read 1861 by Goodheart -- actually some new angles!

Jan 2, 2012, 6:45pm

Abraham Lincoln (The American Presidents Series: The 16th President, 1861-1865) by George S. McGovern *** 1/2/12

A short and adulatory introduction to Lincoln and his presidency, written in an easy style which would be useful to a high school student. Hits the high points but leaves plenty to follow up on.

Nov 7, 2012, 11:30am

There are a lot of books about Lincoln out there. I am going to read Jefferson Davis: His Rise and Fall in conjunction with a biography of Lincoln. Do any of you have an recommendations for a good complementary biography?

Editado: Nov 7, 2012, 9:21pm

#47 I think David Herbert Donald's Lincoln would be good for that.

Nov 9, 2012, 5:18pm

#48 Thank you. There's a copy at the library. I'm heading there now!

Jan 31, 2013, 7:54pm

Team of Rivals
by Doris Kearns Goodwin

It's for books like this that I started reading presidential biographies. Thanks to the good reviews in this thread, when I saw a copy of this for two bucks, I couldn't resist buying it. I let it sit for a while, then I finally read it in an attempt to make some room on my shelf -- that didn't work out so well.

In one sense, Team of Rivals is four biographies in one. In addition to documenting Lincoln's life, Ms. Goodwin also weaves in the biographies of three other candidates for the 1860 Republican nomination--William Seward, Salmon Chase and Edward Bates. She does an excellent job of making a story of their lives, showing how they were molded by their upbringings and the society around them. More than any other biography I've read, she brings out the personal side of these men, showing how they were able to work together to truly make history during their country's worst crisis. Of course, if you don't care for Mr. Lincoln, you may not be able to finish this book. Ol' Father Abraham comes across as a virtual demigod, just like they told us in school. Ms. Goodwin has no problem extolling his virtues and defending the good intentions in his errors. But the tale was so compelling that I found I had no problem reading it at all.

Fev 1, 2013, 6:56am

I keep meaning to read this. Thanks for the review. I admire Lincoln more than any other American President

Editado: Mar 22, 2013, 10:27pm

Editado: Mar 18, 2013, 7:36pm

42 -- I think you are misreading Lincoln. Perhaps you have been reading the work of Thomas DiLorenzo, whose work has been discredited.

Mar 19, 2013, 8:43am

Most historians rank Lincoln as the nation's greatest POTUS, followed by Washington & FDR. I would agree with that. Wilson, Jackson and Truman are often ranked high, which I do not support, nor do I think Jefferson deserves it -- he was a great statesman but a generally terrible President and he himself took no pride in these years -- although he does deserve credit for the Louisiana Purchase.

I will never grow tired of reading books about Lincoln, or JFK for that matter.

Other historical rankings, according to wiki:
"George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt are consistently ranked at the top of the lists. Often ranked just below those Presidents are Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. The remaining places in the top ten are often rounded out by Harry S. Truman, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Andrew Jackson. The bottom ten are Warren G. Harding, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore, Ulysses S. Grant, George W. Bush, Zachary Taylor, William Henry Harrison, and John Tyler. Because Harrison (32 days) and James A. Garfield (200 days, incapacitated after 119 days) both died shortly after taking office, they are sometimes omitted from presidential rankings. Zachary Taylor also died after serving as president for only 16 months, but is usually included. In the case of these three, it is not clear if they received low rankings due to their actions as president, or because each was president for such a limited time that it is not possible to rate them more highly."

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Mar 20, 2013, 8:24am

#57 - your politics are showing.
But, never mind, I've been guilty of that too.

Mar 20, 2013, 9:09am

>58 gmillar:: It's incredibly difficult not to be guilty of that at least to some degree, no? We're all only human, after all.

I'm getting Tennis Neck from the heated, *ahem* discussions going on here... Whew! :)

(Tennis Neck is a thing, right? It likely has a more sophisticated terminology that I don't know.)

Mar 22, 2013, 11:28pm

# 59: "Pain in the neck"?
But seriously, #s 56/57, I'm sorry you felt a need to delete your entries. If it was because of my smart mouth, I apologize.

Mar 24, 2013, 7:25am

I hope I wasn't the cause of the deletions, either. I was just trying to lighten the mood a bit, as it was getting a little tense in here...

Editado: Mar 17, 2014, 7:46pm

Carl Sandburg Abraham Lincoln Finally finished Lincoln. Read Carl Sandburg's Lincoln trilogy. It was written in 1929. The paperback was released in 1954 and was three books, over a 1000 pages. Found it at a garage sale for a $1.00. Really, really enjoyed it. There's been a lot said about Lincoln, but I think it was destiny for him to be president when he was. Events would not have happened but for his foresight. I had gone to Gettysburg, DC, Ford's Theatre, and the house where he died. I'm glad I read him after that trip as I had some perspectives. I'm partway through Team of Rivals but am moving on to Andrew Johnson. Also have Lee by Douglas Southall Freeman to read.

Jul 29, 2014, 9:47pm

Just finished Team of Rivals. It was a freakin' amazing book! Highly recommended!

Nov 10, 2014, 3:27pm

I also have just finished Team of Rivals, and I to would highly recommend it.


Jan 4, 2015, 3:14pm

I finished up my 2014 reading with Lincoln's Men: the President and His Private Secretaries by Daniel Mark Epstein. The book, which is quite readable, provides an interesting look inside the Lincoln White House and also a fascinating first-hand (through diaries and letters of the three secretaries) portrait of Lincoln himself.

Jan 4, 2015, 11:44pm

Never heard of that, will have to take a look.

Ago 17, 2020, 1:46pm

I just finished and very much enjoyed Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails: How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War by Tom Wheeler. This was a very interesting trip through the American Civil War with a close focus point of how the use of the telegraph gave Abraham Lincoln the ability both to communicate with far flung generals and gather information about unfolding events in real time. More importantly, due to how new telegraph technology was, Lincoln was the first head of state to have that ability.

This book was first published in 2005, and Wheeler makes effective comparison, as book's title suggests, between the advent of the telegraph and email, making a credible case that the telegraph was actually the much more revolutionary development. Wheeler avers early on that the Congress members of the early 1960s were much more able to conceptualize (and therefore vote funding for) sending a man to the moon that those of the early 1850s were to wrap their brains around the concept of sending electronic pulses long distance across wires.

We see through Lincoln's telegraphs, all of which are on archive, the poor quality of the Federal commanders over the early years of the war, and Lincoln's frustrations with their dithering and reluctance to go on the offensive. Eventually, Lincoln, who was also receiving telegraphs from post commanders and so knew where enemy forces were and which way they were going, became less and less reluctant to provide strategic recommendations.

Wheeler makes the point that Lincoln's gradual ability to fully master this new communication tool and its functions is one more indication of the president's remarkable character and intelligence. He was learning these things on the fly with--because the technology was so new--no blueprint to follow and nobody to advise him as he learned.

Set 11, 2020, 5:13pm

Sounds interesting!

Set 11, 2020, 7:32pm

>68 swimmergirl1: Yes, quite good.