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"ABE is a cultural biography of Abraham Lincoln, following Lincoln's monumental life from cradle to grave while weaving a narrative that includes Lincoln's cultural influences and the nation-wide and regional cultural trends and moods and happenings of his day, and how Lincoln both shaped and was shaped by his America. The music, humor, literature, and fashions of the time and their impact on Lincoln's life are explored as well, and analysis of other important figures such as Lincoln's wife, his assassin, his professional partners, etc., also draw on this culturally focused style"--
One of the Wall Street Journal's Ten Best Books of the Year | A Washington Post Notable Book | A Christian Science Monitor and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2020 Winner of the Gilder Lehrman Abraham Lincoln Prize and the Abraham Lincoln Institute Book Award "A marvelous cultural biography that captures Lincoln in all his historical fullness. . . . using popular culture in this way, to fill out the context surrounding Lincoln, is what makes Mr. Reynolds's biography so different and so compelling . . . Where did the sympathy and compassion expressed in [Lincoln's] Second Inaugural--'With malice toward none; with charity for all'--come from? This big, wonderful book provides the richest cultural context to explain that, and everything else, about Lincoln." --Gordon Wood, Wall Street Journal From one of the great historians of nineteenth-century America, a revelatory and enthralling new biography of Lincoln, many years in the making, that brings him to life within his turbulent age David S. Reynolds, author of the Bancroft Prize-winning cultural biography of Walt Whitman and many other iconic works of nineteenth century American history, understands the currents in which Abraham Lincoln swam as well as anyone alive. His magisterial biography Abe is the product of full-body immersion into the riotous tumult of American life in the decades before the Civil War. It was a country growing up and being pulled apart at the same time, with a democratic popular culture that reflected the country's contradictions. Lincoln's lineage was considered auspicious by Emerson, Whitman, and others who prophesied that a new man from the West would emerge to balance North and South. From New England Puritan stock on his father's side and Virginia Cavalier gentry on his mother's, Lincoln was linked by blood to the central conflict of the age. And an enduring theme of his life, Reynolds shows, was his genius for striking a balance between opposing forces. Lacking formal schooling but with an unquenchable thirst for self-improvement, Lincoln had a talent for wrestling and bawdy jokes that made him popular with his peers, even as his appetite for poetry and prodigious gifts for memorization set him apart from them through his childhood, his years as a lawyer, and his entrance into politics. No one can transcend the limitations of their time, and Lincoln was no exception. But what emerges from Reynolds's masterful reckoning is a man who at each stage in his life managed to arrive at a broader view of things than all but his most enlightened peers. As a politician, he moved too slowly for some and too swiftly for many, but he always pushed toward justice while keeping the whole nation in mind. Abe culminates, of course, in the Civil War, the defining test of Lincoln and his beloved country. Reynolds shows us the extraordinary range of cultural knowledge Lincoln drew from as he shaped a vision of true union, transforming, in Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, "the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood." Abraham Lincoln did not come out of nowhere. But if he was shaped by his times, he also managed at his life's fateful hour to shape them to an extent few could have foreseen. Ultimately, this is the great drama that astonishes us still, and that Abe brings to fresh and vivid life. The measure of that life will always be part of our American education.
A nuanced psychological portrait of Abraham Lincoln that finds his legendary political strengths rooted in his most personal struggles. Giving shape to the deep depression that pervaded Lincoln's adult life, Joshua Wolf Shenk’s Lincoln’s Melancholy reveals how this illness influenced both the President’s character and his leadership. Mired in personal suffering as a young man, Lincoln forged a hard path toward mental health. Shenk draws on seven years of research from historical record, interviews with Lincoln scholars, and contemporary research on depression to understand the nature of Lincoln’s unhappiness. In the process, Shenk discovers that the President’s coping strategies—among them, a rich sense of humor and a tendency toward quiet reflection—ultimately helped him to lead the nation through its greatest turmoil. A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice SELECTED AS A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Washington Post Book World, Atlanta Journal-Constituion, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette As Featured on the History Channel documentary Lincoln “Fresh, fascinating, provocative.”—Sanford D. Horwitt, San Francisco Chronicle “Some extremely beautiful prose and fine political rhetoric and leaves one feeling close to Lincoln, a considerable accomplishment.”—Andrew Solomon, New York Magazine “A profoundly human and psychologically important examination of the melancholy that so pervaded Lincoln's life.”—Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., author of An Unquiet Mind
“Full, fair, and accurate. . . . Certainly the most objective biography of Lincoln ever written.” —Pulitzer Prize-winner David Herbert Donald, New York Times Book Review From preeminent Civil War historian Stephen B. Oates comes the book the Washington Post hails as “the standard one-volume biography of Lincoln.” Oates’ With Malice Toward None is recognized as the seminal biography of the Sixteenth President, by one of America’s most prominent historians.
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author reveals how Lincoln won the Civil War and invented the role of commander in chief as we know it As we celebrate the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, this study by preeminent, bestselling Civil War historian James M. McPherson provides a rare, fresh take on one of the most enigmatic figures in American history. Tried by War offers a revelatory (and timely) portrait of leadership during the greatest crisis our nation has ever endured. Suspenseful and inspiring, this is the story of how Lincoln, with almost no previous military experience before entering the White House, assumed the powers associated with the role of commander in chief, and through his strategic insight and will to fight changed the course of the war and saved the Union.
As preserver of the Union and emancipator of the slaves, Lincoln occupies a unique niche in the pantheon of American leaders. People from around the world admire his eloquence as a spokesman for democracy and fighter for the oppressed. In this landmark biography, published fifty years after Lincoln's death, an English author recounted for his countrymen the remarkable story of Lincoln's life. Lord Charnwood's comprehensive biography, among the first major books about the sixteenth president, presents a sensitive and literate portrait, tracing Lincoln's rise from humble origins to the highest office in the land and recapturing the profound humanity of his character. From the grinding poverty of his boyhood in the backwoods of Kentucky and Indiana and his early struggles as a prairie lawyer, the author charts Lincoln's elevation to the Illinois legislature, Congress, and the presidency, culminating in his role as commander in chief during the bloodiest struggles in American history. Beautifully written, this unabridged edition also offers profound historical insights into the factors contributing to the Civil War, including economic and political conditions, territorial expansion, foreign and domestic policies, and slavery. This splendid profile of an epic figure whose relevance endures and grows with the passage of time is essential reading for admirers of Lincoln, students and scholars of American history, and anyone who appreciates a well-written, engrossing biography.
“A fascinating tour inside the mind—and the heart—of Abraham Lincoln . . . An important and timeless work.”—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of His Truth Is Marching On From the New York Times bestselling author of A. Lincoln and American Ulysses, a revelatory glimpse into the intellectual journey of our sixteenth president through his private notes to himself, explored together here for the first time A deeply private man, shut off even to those who worked closely with him, Abraham Lincoln often captured “his best thoughts,” as he called them, in short notes to himself. He would work out his personal stances on the biggest issues of the day, never expecting anyone to see these frank, unpolished pieces of writing, which he’d then keep close at hand, in desk drawers and even in his top hat. The profound importance of these notes has been overlooked, because the originals are scattered across several different archives and have never before been brought together and examined as a coherent whole. Now, renowned Lincoln historian Ronald C. White walks readers through twelve of Lincoln’s most important private notes, showcasing our greatest president’s brilliance and empathy, but also his very human anxieties and ambitions. We look over Lincoln’s shoulder as he grapples with the problem of slavery, attempting to find convincing rebuttals to those who supported the evil institution (“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”); prepares for his historic debates with Stephen Douglas; expresses his private feelings after a defeated bid for a Senate seat (“With me, the race of ambition has been a failure—a flat failure”); voices his concerns about the new Republican Party’s long-term prospects; develops an argument for national unity amidst a secession crisis that would ultimately rend the nation in two; and, for a president many have viewed as not religious, develops a sophisticated theological reflection in the midst of the Civil War (“it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party”). Additionally, in a historic first, all 111 Lincoln notes are transcribed in the appendix, a gift to scholars and Lincoln buffs alike. These are notes Lincoln never expected anyone to read, put into context by a writer who has spent his career studying Lincoln’s life and words. The result is a rare glimpse into the mind and soul of one of our nation’s most important figures.
Winner of the Bancroft Prize and the Ambassador Book Award and Finalist for the National for the Book Critics Circle Award In his poetry Walt Whitman set out to encompass all of America and in so doing heal its deepening divisions. This magisterial biography demonstrates the epic scale of his achievement, as well as the dreams and anxieties that impelled it, for it places the poet securely within the political and cultural context of his age. Combing through the full range of Whitman's writing, David Reynolds shows how Whitman gathered inspiration from every stratum of nineteenth-century American life: the convulsions of slavery and depression; the raffish dandyism of the Bowery "b'hoys"; the exuberant rhetoric of actors, orators, and divines. We see how Whitman reconciled his own sexuality with contemporary social mores and how his energetic courtship of the public presaged the vogues of advertising and celebrity. Brilliantly researched, captivatingly told, Walt Whitman's America is a triumphant work of scholarship that breathes new life into the biographical genre.
Book The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery Description/Summary:
“A masterwork [by] the preeminent historian of the Civil War era.”—Boston Globe Selected as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, this landmark work gives us a definitive account of Lincoln's lifelong engagement with the nation's critical issue: American slavery. A master historian, Eric Foner draws Lincoln and the broader history of the period into perfect balance. We see Lincoln, a pragmatic politician grounded in principle, deftly navigating the dynamic politics of antislavery, secession, and civil war. Lincoln's greatness emerges from his capacity for moral and political growth.
Book Lincoln in American Memory Description/Summary:
Lincoln's death, like his life, was an event of epic proportions. When the president was struck down at his moment of triumph, writes Merrill Peterson, "sorrow--indescribable sorrow" swept the nation. After lying in state in Washington, Lincoln's body was carried by a special funeral train to Springfield, Illinois, stopping in major cities along the way; perhaps a million people viewed the remains as memorial orations rang out and the world chorused its sincere condolences. It was the apotheosis of the martyred President--the beginning of the transformation of a man into a mythic hero. In Lincoln in American Memory, historian Merrill Peterson provides a fascinating history of Lincoln's place in the American imagination from the hour of his death to the present. In tracing the changing image of Lincoln through time, this wide-ranging account offers insight into the evolution and struggles of American politics and society--and into the character of Lincoln himself. Westerners, Easterners, even Southerners were caught up in the idealization of the late President, reshaping his memory and laying claim to his mantle, as his widow, son, memorial builders, and memorabilia collectors fought over his visible legacy. Peterson also looks at the complex responses of blacks to the memory of Lincoln, as they moved from exultation at the end of slavery to the harsh reality of free life amid deep poverty and segregation; at more than one memorial event for the great emancipator, the author notes, blacks were excluded. He makes an engaging examination of the flood of reminiscences and biographies, from Lincoln's old law partner William H. Herndon to Carl Sandburg and beyond. Serious historians were late in coming to the topic; for decades the myth-makers sought to shape the image of the hero President to suit their own agendas. He was made a voice of prohibition, a saloon-keeper, an infidel, a devout Christian, the first Bull Moose Progressive, a military blunderer and (after the First World War) a military genius, a white supremacist (according to D.W. Griffith and other Southern admirers), and a touchstone for the civil rights movement. Through it all, Peterson traces five principal images of Lincoln: the savior of the Union, the great emancipator, man of the people, first American, and self-made man. In identifying these archetypes, he tells us much not only of Lincoln but of our own identity as a people.
A radical reinterpretation of America’s greatest president. Where previous Lincoln biographers describe his temperament as “moderate,” “passive,” or even “conservative,” historian Richard Striner offers a stunningly original perspective that will shed significant new light on one of the most studied figures in American history. Striner shows Lincoln’s audacity as no other book has ever done. By emphasizing the workings of Lincoln’s mind—stressing his cunning, his overall honesty, strategic thinking—even his ability to change his mind—Striner looks anew at many topics and themes important to Lincoln’s story that either revise or add new meaning to the work of previous biographers. His insights into Lincoln’s life, but also into antebellum America, and the military and political history of the Civil War, make this book indispensable for well-read armchair historians, seasoned students of Lincoln, the Civil War, or the American presidency and newcomers alike.
WINNER OF THE LINCOLN FORUM BOOK PRIZE “A Lincoln classic...superb.” —The Washington Post “A book for our time.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin Lincoln on the Verge tells the dramatic story of America’s greatest president discovering his own strength to save the Republic. As a divided nation plunges into the deepest crisis in its history, Abraham Lincoln boards a train for Washington and his inauguration—an inauguration Southerners have vowed to prevent. Lincoln on the Verge charts these pivotal thirteen days of travel, as Lincoln discovers his power, speaks directly to the public, and sees his country up close. Drawing on new research, this riveting account reveals the president-elect as a work in progress, showing him on the verge of greatness, as he foils an assassination attempt, forges an unbreakable bond with the American people, and overcomes formidable obstacles in order to take his oath of office.
Book A Just and Generous Nation Description/Summary:
In A Just and Generous Nation, the eminent historian Harold Holzer and the noted economist Norton Garfinkle present a groundbreaking new account of the beliefs that inspired our sixteenth president to go to war when the Southern states seceded from the Union. Rather than a commitment to eradicating slavery or a defense of the Union, they argue, Lincoln's guiding principle was the defense of equal economic opportunity. Lincoln firmly believed that the government's primary role was to ensure that all Americans had the opportunity to better their station in life. As president, he worked tirelessly to enshrine this ideal within the federal government. He funded railroads and canals, supported education, and, most importantly, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which opened the door for former slaves to join white Americans in striving for self-improvement. In our own age of unprecedented inequality, A Just and Generous Nation reestablishes Lincoln's legacy as the protector not just of personal freedom but of the American dream itself.
Book The Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln - Scholar's Choice Edition Description/Summary:
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.
Finalist for the 2020 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards! "This is the best book about Abraham Lincoln I've ever read." - William J. Bennett, former US Secretary of Education and author of The Book of Virtues Old Abe, the sweeping historical novel from New York Times bestselling author John Cribb, brings America's greatest president to life the way no other book has before. Old Abe is the story of the last five years of Abraham Lincoln's life, the most cataclysmic years in American history. We are at Lincoln's side on every page as he presses forward amid disaster and fights to save the country. Beginning in the spring of 1860, the story follows Lincoln through his election and the calamity of the Civil War. During the war, he walks bloody battlefields in the North and the South. He peers down the Potomac River with a spyglass amid terrifying reports of approaching Confederate gunboats. Death stalks him: one summer evening, a would-be assassin fires a shot at him, and the bullet passes through his hat. At the White House, he weeps over the body of Willie, his second son to die in childhood. As he tries desperately to hold the Union together, he searches for a general who will fight and finds him at last in Ulysses S. Grant. Amid national and personal tragedy, he struggles to find meaning in the Civil War and bring freedom to Southern slaves. Central to this biographical novel is a love story--the story of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln's sometimes stormy yet devoted marriage. Mary's strong will and ambition for her husband have helped drive him to the White House. But the presidency takes an awful toll on her, and she grows increasingly frightened and insecure. Lincoln watches helplessly as she becomes emotionally unstable, and he grasps for ways to support her. As Lincoln's journey unfolds, Old Abe chronicles the final five, tumultuous years of his life until his eventual assassination at the height of power. Full of epic scenes from American history, such as the Gettysburg Address and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, it probes the character and spirit of America. Old Abe portrays Lincoln not only as a flesh-and-blood man, but a hero who embodies his country's finest ideals, the hero who sets the United States on track to become a great nation.
Book Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen Description/Summary:
Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen is a culinary biography unlike any before. The very assertion of the title--that Abraham Lincoln cooked--is fascinating and true. It's an insight into the everyday life of one of our nation's favorite and most esteemed presidents and a way to experience flavors and textures of the past. Eighmey solves riddles such as what type of barbecue could be served to thousands at political rallies when paper plates and napkins didn't exist, and what gingerbread recipe could have been Lincoln's childhood favorite when few families owned cookie cutters and he could carry the cookies in his pocket. Through Eighmey's eyes and culinary research and experiments--including sleuthing for Lincoln's grocery bills in Springfield ledgers and turning a backyard grill into a cast-iron stove--the foods that Lincoln enjoyed, cooked, or served are translated into modern recipes so that authentic meals and foods of 1820-1865 are possible for home cooks. Feel free to pull up a chair to Lincoln's table.
A brilliant and novel examination of how Abraham Lincoln mastered the art of leadership “Gerhardt has devised an ingenious solution for demystifying America’s most enigmatic president: examining the key people who influenced Lincoln as he developed his own unique skills and leadership style.” –Russell L. Riley, UVA’s Miller Center In 1849, when Abraham Lincoln returned to Springfield, Illinois, after two seemingly uninspiring years in the U.S. House of Representatives, his political career appeared all but finished. His sense of failure was so great that friends worried about his sanity. Yet within a decade, Lincoln would reenter politics, become a leader of the Republican Party, win the 1860 presidential election, and keep America together during its most perilous period. What accounted for the turnaround? As Michael J. Gerhardt reveals, Lincoln’s reemergence followed the same path he had taken before, in which he read voraciously and learned from the successes, failures, oratory, and political maneuvering of a surprisingly diverse handful of men, some of whom he had never met but others of whom he knew intimately—Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, John Todd Stuart, and Orville Browning. From their experiences and his own, Lincoln learned valuable lessons on leadership, mastering party politics, campaigning, conventions, understanding and using executive power, managing a cabinet, speechwriting and oratory, and—what would become his most enduring legacy—developing policies and rhetoric to match a constitutional vision that spoke to the monumental challenges of his time. Without these mentors, Abraham Lincoln would likely have remained a small-town lawyer—and without Lincoln, the United States as we know it may not have survived. This book tells the unique story of how Lincoln emerged from obscurity and learned how to lead.
From the great events of the day to the patient workings of a spider, few poets responded to the life around them as powerfully as Walt Whitman. Now, in this brief but bountiful volume, David S. Reynolds offers a wealth of insight into the life and work of Whitman, examining the author through the lens of nineteenth-century America. Reynolds shows how Whitman responded to contemporary theater, music, painting, photography, science, religion, and sex. But perhaps nothing influenced Whitman more than the political events of his lifetime, as the struggle over slavery threatened to rip apart the national fabric. America, he believed, desperately needed a poet to hold together a society that was on the verge of unraveling. He created his powerful, all-absorbing poetic "I" to heal a fragmented nation that, he hoped, would find in his poetry new possibilities for inspiration and togetherness. Reynolds also examines the influence of theater, describing how Whitman's favorite actor, the tragedian Junius Brutus Booth--"one of the grandest revelations of my life"--developed a powerfully emotive stage style that influenced Leaves of Grass, which took passionate poetic expression to new heights. Readers will also discover how from the new medium of photography Whitman learned democratic realism and offered in his poetry "photographs" of common people engaged in everyday activities. Reynolds concludes with an appraisal of Whitman's impact on American letters, an influence that remains strong today. Solidly grounded in historical and biographical facts, and exceptionally wide-ranging in the themes it treats, Walt Whitman packs a dazzling amount of insight into a compact volume.
Waking Giant is a brilliant, definitive history of America’s vibrant and tumultuous rise during the Jacksonian era from David S. Reynolds, the Bancroft Prize-winning author of Walt Whitman’s America. Casting fresh light on Andrew Jackson, who redefined the presidency, along with John Quincy Adams and James K. Polk, who expanded the nation’s territory and strengthened its position internationally, Reynolds captures the turbulence of a democracy caught in the throes of the controversy over slavery, the rise of capitalism, and the birth of urbanization.
Book The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution Description/Summary:
An award-winning scholar uncovers the guiding principles of Lincoln’s antislavery strategies. The long and turning path to the abolition of American slavery has often been attributed to the equivocations and inconsistencies of antislavery leaders, including Lincoln himself. But James Oakes’s brilliant history of Lincoln’s antislavery strategies reveals a striking consistency and commitment extending over many years. The linchpin of antislavery for Lincoln was the Constitution of the United States. Lincoln adopted the antislavery view that the Constitution made freedom the rule in the United States, slavery the exception. Where federal power prevailed, so did freedom. Where state power prevailed, that state determined the status of slavery, and the federal government could not interfere. It would take state action to achieve the final abolition of American slavery. With this understanding, Lincoln and his antislavery allies used every tool available to undermine the institution. Wherever the Constitution empowered direct federal action—in the western territories, in the District of Columbia, over the slave trade—they intervened. As a congressman in 1849 Lincoln sponsored a bill to abolish slavery in Washington, DC. He reentered politics in 1854 to oppose what he considered the unconstitutional opening of the territories to slavery by the Kansas–Nebraska Act. He attempted to persuade states to abolish slavery by supporting gradual abolition with compensation for slaveholders and the colonization of free Blacks abroad. President Lincoln took full advantage of the antislavery options opened by the Civil War. Enslaved people who escaped to Union lines were declared free. The Emancipation Proclamation, a military order of the president, undermined slavery across the South. It led to abolition by six slave states, which then joined the coalition to affect what Lincoln called the "King’s cure": state ratification of the constitutional amendment that in 1865 finally abolished slavery.