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Biography of Abraham Lincoln: The 5 Books All Presidential Historians Should Read

By    |   Tuesday, 03 February 2015 05:27 PM

Presidential historians exploring insights into the 16th president should pick up these works when looking for a biography of Abraham Lincoln:

1. "The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln" by Michael Burlingame

University of Illinois at Springfield Lincoln scholar Michael Burlingame provides a look into the torment of Lincoln's middle-age years, including estrangement from his father and a marriage where he was physically abused. The book examines Lincoln's mean streak, aversion to women, and explosive temper. Burlingame unearthed long-dormant manuscripts and newspaper articles to cast new light on Lincoln's deep hatred of slavery and how he transformed from a political hack to a statesman.

2. "The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The Lincoln Studies Center Edition" edited by Rodney O. Davis and Douglas L. Wilson

This book has been called by experts the most complete record ever assembled on the landmark debates between Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. All known records were scoured for the work to provide as close to the original words as possible, taking readers inside the debates and their impact on a nation torn apart by slavery. “No one with even a passing interest in the history of American politics can afford not to read it,” said Allen C. Guelzo, author of "Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America."

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3. "Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on Our Sixteenth President" by Brian Lamb (Editor), Susan Swain (Editor) and C-SPAN (Editor)

Get insights into the life and legacy of Lincoln in this work. Three essays, created from C-SPAN interviews, span Lincoln's life and provide insight into the time from his work as an Illinois lawyer to his efforts leading the country in its most tumultuous time. New insights can be gained on the 16th president in this work, regardless of your prior knowledge of the president.

4. "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" by Doris Kearns Goodwin 

The book shows the cunning of Lincoln to go from a one-term congressman to president, topping three nationally known contenders. The work shows Lincoln's ability to master others and the role that played in his being the most significant president in U.S history. The New York Times called the book “endlessly absorbing.”

5. "Lincoln" by David Herbert Donald

Believed by many experts to be the best biography on the president ever written. The book lets you know Lincoln's mind-set and actions throughout his political career. Donald does not paint an all-glowing picture of the president, as many others have. He shows the passivity in the president's personality and its impact.

Columbia University professor Eric Foner told NPR about Donald’s book: “[Donald] avoided the two pitfalls that people fall into. One is just hagiography — you know, [Lincoln] was born with a pen in his hand ready to sign the Emancipation Proclamation; and the other is the opposite, of course — [he was] just a racist or didn't really care about slavery at all. Donald sort of navigates between them.”

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Presidential historians exploring insights into the 16th president should pick up these works when looking for a biography of Abraham Lincoln.
biography, of, abraham lincoln, should, read
Tuesday, 03 February 2015 05:27 PM
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