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Lincoln Paperback – Nov 5 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (Nov. 5 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068482535X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684825359
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #41,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Pulitzer prize winner Donald's biography was a PW bestseller for 11 weeks.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, most recently for Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe (LJ 12/86), Donald proves himself the superb biographer of Lincoln, though two recent biographies, Michael Burlingame's The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln (LJ 4/1/94) and Merrill Peterson's Lincoln in American Memory (LJ 10/1/94), are both important studies. Donald's profile of the 16th president focuses entirely on Lincoln, seldom straying from the subject. It looks primarily at what Lincoln "knew, when he knew it, and why he made his decisions." Donald's Lincoln emerges as ambitious, often defeated, tormented by his married life, but with a remarkable capacity for growth?and the nation's greatest president. What really stands out in a lively narrative are Lincoln's abilities to hold together a nation of vastly diverse regional interests during the turmoil and tragedy of the Civil War. Donald's biography will appeal to all readers and will undoubtedly corral its share of book awards. Highly recommended for all libraries.?Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., Ala.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
With word that later in 2004 several new Lincoln biographies are to be published I again turned to my unread copy of Donald's LINCOLN. It had been highly recommended to me when I mentioned that I had never read a biography of Lincoln. I was told this was one of the best Lincoln Biographies.Overall, David Donald's book is just full of details and is interestingly told from Lincoln's perspective. (What did Lincoln know and what did he do? A real time biography.) I greatly admire Donald's accomplishment and learned a great deal but was disappointed that this is just not an "entertaining" narrative. The writing is dry, without a visual sense or an emotional core. You never feel you're experiencing Lincoln, feeling what he must have felt as he comes across in the narrative as stoically reactive to events while holding on to only one true principle, saving the union. I especially like the first part of the book covering Lincoln's early years up to the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. But once the Great War takes hold Lincoln is depicted as a man given to compromise and taking the middle ground unable to do anything more than ride the whirlwind of events. (Actually Lincoln said himself that this is the case and it comes so apparent in this narrative.) Lincoln appears here as an uncertain politician and seldom the statesman. This may be true and a bit unsettling to those of us who might want to "worship" the Lincoln as statesman who belongs to the ages. My reading left me with little insight into Lincoln's thinking, and more important without an insight into what he is feeling that I felt distanced from subject. The feeling I came away with was that Lincoln was not really comfortable in his own skin and I was uncomfortable and unsure that this could be true. I recommend Donald's book for its detail, overall insight, but warn that it is a tough read.
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Format: Paperback
"Lincoln" is a remarkable look at Abraham Lincoln as he advanced from extremely poor, rural roots, in what was then the western United States, into both the Illinois legislature and the U.S. Congress for one term, through a career as a self-taught lawyer, and finally to the presidency. The author has extensively researched Lincoln's movements, first-hand accounts of his utterances, his formal speeches and writings, as well as official records kept in the discharge of his various duties and offices.
It is a fascinating look at the evolution of the character and personality of a man of meager origins and virtually no formal education. Lincoln was driven to make something of himself; this is best seen in his insatiable desire to educate himself. Beyond self-development, Lincoln had an inherent ability to relate to others. He combined humility with a great ability to tell stories. This ease among his fellow citizens led to his being elected to the Illinois legislature at a fairly young age and to a reasonably successful career as a lawyer.
Lincoln was a Whig and devotee of Henry Clay and his American system of internal improvements. But it would be completely wrong to regard Lincoln as mostly an opportunistic politician. He was principled, if anything. Manipulating a political view to get elected would have never occurred to Lincoln. Furthermore, Lincoln was a man of his word. When elected to Congress in 1846, he returned home after one term as he promised, though undoubtedly he could have been re-elected. However, the author shows that Lincoln became very astute politically with a substantial network of political friends both at the state and national levels.
Early in Lincoln's career, slavery was seldom an issue.
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Format: Paperback
When comparing David Herbert Donald's one volume biography of Lincoln to other biographies that have preceded it, one can easily draw as many parallels to other works as can be contrasted. Although Donald reads very much like Thomas' biography, written over sixty years ago, there is considerably more detail in the additional one hundred plus pages Donald contributed to the story of Lincoln's life. This additional information does not appear much like embellishment, but true detail, perhaps to the point of tedium.
Although much of Thomas is found within Donald, the additional information gives the reader a look into the reason why the author would decide to add another Lincoln biography to the existing long list. Clearly, although Donald appears to have a strong interest in the motives and person of Abraham Lincoln, there is much less of the unbridled respect Thomas reveals in his work. To call Donald a revisionist based only on this work would be an overstatement. There is however enough evidence to fairly describe him as a contrarian.
The biographies I have read, written before the Civil Rights Movement were largely complementary to Lincoln's memory. Donald, written in 1996 is much less so. Isolating the exact reasons why Donald appears to be negative toward Lincoln when compared to other biographers can be elusive, but not impossible. By Donald's description, Lincoln's actions leave a tyrannical aura in the mind of the reader. Although the author himself never refers to Lincoln as a tyrant, his frequent use of conservative and Democrat supporting press, frequently without offering a liberal or conservative counterpoint, tended to leave a negative attitude toward the Lincoln administration.
Was Lincoln a tyrant?
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