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A. Lincoln

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  6,670 ratings  ·  220 reviews
“If you read one book about Lincoln, make itA. Lincoln.”— USA Today

The Washington PostThe Philadelphia Inquirer •The Christian Science Monitor • St. Louis Post-Dispatch.



Everyone wants to define the man who signed his name “A. Lincoln.” In his lifetime and ever since, friend an
Hardcover, 816 pages
Published January 13th 2009 by Random House (first published January 1st 2009)
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I am a Lincoln buff and have read myriad biographies of the man, ranging fron his ardent admirers to his worst detractors. So, reading yet another one seemed redundant, but I did it anyway, and I'm glad I did. The first few pages start out with the usual retelling of his humble beginnings, but soon the revelations and insights begin. White searched through Lincoln's own notes to himself on every conceivable issue, and bases this new bio on them. Lincoln had a lifelong habit of writing down his t ...more
Chad Sayban
In so many ways, I really enjoyed this biography of Abraham Lincoln. I learned a great deal about his upbringing, the challenges he had early in his life and the number of choices he had to make - and sometimes reverse - before becoming the savior of the Union. A. Lincoln also shined a spotlight on the conditions of the American Midwest in the middle of the nineteenth century as the pressures of an expanding country ran into the pull of slavery. This biography does an outstanding job of portrayi ...more

I don't know why this got recommended so highly. In fact, I don't know why White wrote this book at all, since it adds almost nothing to Lincoln scholarship. It was just astonishing to see entire topics go unmentioned in this 600+ page doorstop--a book that was billed as *the* authoritative Lincoln of our time.

Interested in the debate over Lincoln's depression? How about his marriage, or his (hetero/a/homo-)sexuality? Or perhaps his management of foreign policy and Reconstruction during the
I thought this was an excellent biography of Lincoln. I loved that it didn't seem in any way salacious. It didn't dwell on his marriage or depression or relationships with his parents. It did dwell on his writings and speeches and spent time discussing his rhetoric, poetry, and influences, and this was so much more appealing. I thought White handled the civil war amazingly well; I am no history buff and although I needed reminding of many of the important battles and their significance, I felt r ...more
Jason Horejs
Though I have long been an avid reader of history - I admit I have generally avoided anything related to the Civil War/Abraham Lincoln. This probably stems from my childhood when I somehow came to the conclusion that the Civil War was . . . boring. I simply couldn't work up any interest - I was much more likely to be interested in Greek or Roman history, 20th century American history, etc. etc.

I changed my mind last summer when I had the opportunity to visit the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Il
Greg Moye
I consider myself an amateur historian of the civil war, so I keep looking for great books on the subject. As much as I knew about Lincoln before this book, I had actually not read a full biography of the man before. This was a big learning experience for me, especially his formative years as a young man in the midwest. We like to look back at "Lincoln, the Myth," this stern resolute figure who championed the saving of the union; however, the truth reveals a much different picture. Lincoln, judg ...more
Robert D. Cornwall
Abraham Lincoln is an iconic figure. Considered to be among the greatest, if not the greatest President, of the United States. During much of his Presidency he was considered by many to be anything but great. After all, he presided over the disintegration of a nation and had placed thousands in harms way. Having no executive experience when he took office he had to learn on the job, and for the entirety of his presidency was consumed by the need to guide the war effort. It wasn't until Grant too ...more
With this year being the 200th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, numerous scholars have come out with new material focusing on our most revered President. Ronald White's contribution to this anniversary is a one volume biography, and in my mind, it has to be the best this year. Lincoln is without question a fascinating study, and White's biography of him is one of my personal favorites.

With White's background, a combination of historical and theological study, he emerges to me as one a few
James Korsmo
In this full-scale biography of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald White does a great job of conveying both the brilliance and the humanity of this great president. As you would expect, White chronicles Lincoln's upbringing, his education (or lack thereof), and his entry into the law profession. It is clear that these years set the stage for what is to come, as you can see the character that will become so essential to his success being formed. White chronicles Lincoln's early forays into politics, his tim ...more
Larry Jebsen
I don't like to hand out 5 stars, but this book required it. A. Lincoln, the president, has always been about surface knowledge. I thought I knew a lot. I stand corrected. The book appears thicker than it is to read, because of 200 plus pages of end notes and an extensive bibliography. Fascinating to me was to watch the intellectual, political, and spiritual growth of Lincoln. The seeds all existed from the beginning, but became more refine and in depth, as his life and presidency evolved. Truly ...more
I really wanted to read a good bio about Abraham Lincoln. I know so little about one of America's most reverred presidents. However it seems that most biographies are either 700-1000 pages or 100 page bios for elementary school children. Why can't someone write a good 300-400 page bio? I don't need to know the text of every letter he ever wrote...

This bio on Lincoln assumed you knew the major historical points of the civil war, which I do not. It mentioned historical events with a one sentence e
What I love about this biography of Lincoln is the analysis of his speeches. The author has written two books about Lincoln's great speeches so you could call him a premier expert on the subject. He has studied both Lincoln's public and private writings and convincingly gets to the heart of our sixteenth president.
If you want to learn the art of persuasion, study this book as it expounds on Lincoln's powerful use of the podium. For example:
• Lincoln’s eloquence stemmed from legal knowledge and
Easily my favorite non-fiction book of the year (so far).

It details the life of Abraham Lincoln from birth to death, focusing almost exclusively on what Lincoln thought and did, not much space is given to contemporaries. When there is a quote from an political opponent or from a newspaper, it's about Lincoln. In a way, that's good - I can't remember more than five names at once, anyway.

It's a relatively thick, very detailed book, but it's never truly dry and boring - rather, the myriads of quote
An unqualified "five star" effort by Ronald White that I expect will become the definitive biography of our 16th President. But the value of this book is the in depth analysis of Lincoln's writings, letters, and speeches where he penetrates to the soul of the man and brings him to life as an innovater who changed the course of America and brought real meaning to the words in the Declaration of Independence, "that all men are created equal". One is forced to wonder how different America might be ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Having already written two books on Abraham Lincoln, Ronald C. White, Jr., understands better than most the challenges in bringing a fresh perspective to the most scrutinized president in American history. With 16,000 books, and counting, on Lincoln (as well as several dozen more in the period before the bicentennial celebration of his birth), the ground that remains to be covered is disappearing before scholars' eyes. But White, who draws on his own thorough research of the recently available L

I do not know enough to weigh in on how this biography compares to some of the others (James M. McPherson says it’s “the best since David Donald’s 1995 Lincoln”). My friend Elliot Trummold, a Lincoln scholar, among other roles, attests that it is “solid and well done.” And various reviews say it’s one of the best one volume works on Lincoln. They know more than I.

But I was enthralled by it. Initially I thought I was taken in by the audio version (read by Bill Weideman) as I felt I was listening
From humble beginnings to a respected and admired president, Abraham Lincoln was a master of the message with insightful, precise words. A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White, Jr. is a well-researched biography of importance. Only by divine providence and shear determination did Lincoln guide and lead this country during its most tumultuous historical period. So many details are brought to the reader of this book that are beyond the cursory introductions of an American History class. He was ...more
Unbelievable. I enjoy biographies, but not usually Presidential ones. Having read a fascinating book on Mary Todd Lincoln, I decided to read this to get more insight on her story. I was simply blown away. This is so incredibly well crafted, not just the writing but the inclusion of pictures, handwritten copies of letters and speeches, not in a separate section but on the relevant pages. The author doesn't just report what was said, but attempts to explain Lincoln's thinking and thought processes ...more
Didn't finish. I'm fascinated by Lincoln, and I tried, but I swear if the author could include any more unnecessary details I can't think of what they would be. I think he was trying to impress us with his scholarship. For example, every time Lincoln moved to a different town the author would list every shop open in it. "3 blacksmith shops, 2 saloons, 2 dressmakers, ....blah blah blah" why the heck? I just wanted to know Lincoln. I can have some patience, knowing he was trying to give a sense of ...more
Jeremy Perron
Written in time for President Lincoln's bicentennial year, Ronald White's new Lincoln biography tells the story of the Nation's sixteenth president. The book that this one is most compared to is David Herbert Donald's Lincoln from 1995. I like both of these works. Donald prepared more information on Lincoln and the world around him, while White has smother narrative that is strong enough for someone who reads a great deal of history but not overwhelming for a newcomer. Both are good they are jus ...more
Bob Allen
"Well-written, thoroughly researched, lots of detail without being tedious. White has written a very comprehensive biography of Abraham Lincoln. It's not quite as readable as ""With Malice Toward None"" (Stephen Oates), but it seems more authoritative.

White showed Lincoln as acting consistently throughout his life:
• Lincoln looked at all sides of issues and White pointed out that he could argue an opposing side at least as effectively as someone who actually held that view.
• Lincoln was delibera
A big book about a big man, though the book turns out to have much less substance than it's subject.
Broad to a fault-- indeed, it's breadth is it's biggest failing-- "A. Lincoln" purports to reveal the man behind that signature.
The set pieces are all here: here is Lincoln the industrious youth, here is Lincoln the self-made railsplitter, here is Lincoln the talented young attorney, and most of all, here is Lincoln the shrewd and able politician. All these roles have been accounted to Lincoln i
Rick Hautala
Don't get me wrong. This is a good book ... a VERY good book, but I feel something's lacking ... I can't quite put my finger on it, but for all its insight and research, I still think "Honest Abe" is a bit elusive in this book ... Maybe it's because he was so complex in life NO book could ever capture him entirely. Although I enjoyed the read (very smooth) and I knocked the book off in about a week, I feel like I had appetizers, not a full meal.
After visiting the Lincoln memorial and reading and rereading the Gettysburg address and his second inaugural address countless times I wanted to find the best book on Lincoln, and this is definitely it.

When witness the great monument and seeing his words written on the marble, I heard a person ask a park ranger what speech is that (pointing to the Gettysburg address). It angered me to hear someone speak perfect English and with an American accent know it. But then I thought to myself, do I rea
Aug 14, 2010 Jack added it
That Lincoln was up against a nation divided, he was an unknown when he debated Stephen Douglas. The secession, the border states, slavery, ways of life, state's rights.That to this day with all the wars we fought in the amount of men lost , killed in action still doesn;'t equal what we lost in the Civil War.
Exceptional approach to the history we know of Mr. Lincoln. Focused on his relationships with his Cabinet and various Union generals and his involvement in decisions regarding battles of the Civil War. Also examined some of his speeches and public letters in detail. Well written.
This was well-written, and had a great attention to detail, especially some of the genealogy-related facts about Lincoln's life. I got a great picture of our 16th President, and found out that he was more of a politician than we generally hear about.
I actually don't remember when I read this book, but it was sometime before 2012. This is a fabulous book and should be standard for every one who wants to consider himself or herself well-versed on the life of Abraham Lincoln. It should be part of the "Lincoln canon" - if there was such a thing! It could get a little dry in some places, as can most chronological biographies - not every moment of someone's life belongs on a highlight reel. But if you really want to know Lincoln from start to fin ...more
Any biography of Abraham Lincoln or history of the Civil War has its work cut out for it. So much is well known and there is so much to know and so much to say in order to provide context that it is all but impossible to do a decent job in one volume. This is a decent job, although I found myself noting parts the author omitted or glossed over that I wish were included. In order to keep the book to a manageable scope, the author often narrows his focus to just Lincoln and his personal feelings / ...more

“A. Lincoln: A Biography” is Ronald White, Jr.‘s 2009 biography of Abraham Lincoln. White is the author of seven other books including two previous books on Lincoln. He is a graduate of UCLA and Princeton Theological Seminary and is a Visiting Professor of History at UCLA. He is currently working on a biography of Ulysses S. Grant, to be published in early 2015.

There is certainly no shortage of biographies of Abraham Lincoln. So it is high praise that Whit
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