Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman” as Want to Read:
President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  401 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
In his acclaimed book Lincoln's Virtues, William Lee Miller explored Abraham Lincoln's intellectual and moral development. Now he completes his "ethical biography," showing how the amiable and inexperienced backcountry politician was transformed by constitutional alchemy into an oath-bound head of state. Faced with a radical moral contradiction left by the nation's Founder ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about President Lincoln, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about President Lincoln

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,306)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nathan Albright
Jan 16, 2016 Nathan Albright rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I happened to check this book out from the library before realizing it was the second part of a two-part “ethical biography” of Abraham Lincoln, this volume covering Lincoln as president. Although there are many books, many of them quite good [1], about Abraham Lincoln, the worth of his life and writing and political/moral thought has led many to write about him, most of them in praise and a few in fierce and usually unmerited criticism. This particular book, as might be expected, largely praise ...more
Matthew Hines
Aug 22, 2014 Matthew Hines rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book holds a prized place on my bookshelf. It is a monumental work on leadership and how Lincoln evolved as a leader while trying to hold the Union together.

One interesting chapter delves into the politics of the illegal slave trade in the years leading up to the war. In 1808, Congress declared the slave trade to be illegal, as allowed in the U.S. Constitution. However, that ban was frequently disobeyed, and in the 1840s the U.S. Navy had to create the African squadron to patrol west Afric
Everton Patterson
Jan 05, 2010 Everton Patterson rated it really liked it
Good, well-written study of Lincoln's presidency. Lincoln was certainly an extraordinary human being, and the United States probably exists now only because he was president at that particular time. During the Civil War, he had the difficult task of prosecuting the war while not alienating the border slave states. Losing the border states could have led to the loss of the war and thus the perpetuation of slavery and the destruction of the United States. Due to his political mastery as well as hi ...more
Yassine El
Apr 29, 2016 Yassine El rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Lincoln was a good republican and hated president. Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. He showed a good figure of America, Lincoln help america grow in many ways, he made America grow by making it a big continent. Lincoln assisted at many journeys like wars. Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States Of America, he was president from 1861 to 1865. Lincoln was a member of the house of representative. Lincoln was married with Mary Todd, Lincoln has four children's Edward,Robert, Willie
May 23, 2014 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In precisely the same vein as it's prequel, a "ethical biography", at least purportedly. That's using "biography" loosely, as there is barely even a timeline of events. Opening with Lincoln's inauguration and closing with the most rudimentary treatment of his death that I've ever read, the narrative is propelled not by facts or chronology, but by vague notions of principle. Not that the principles themselves are vague-- Miller quite effectively conveys Lincoln's determination and will-- but the ...more
Jan 24, 2009 Calvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read over 20 books on the life of Abraham Lincoln and I never tire of looking at his life and work from a different angle and although I was familiar with greater than 90% of the incidents and events discussed in this book I appreciated and enjoyed this author's perseptions from the perspective of statesmanship. Oh, for an Abraham Lincoln today!
Walter Herrick
Apr 17, 2011 Walter Herrick rated it it was amazing
I gave this book 5 stars because I have had my eyes opened like never before about Lincoln in the Civil War. So the rating is mostly based on the experience of the book - and not how well it was written. I say this because like most nonfiction it is not easy to breeze-read through it. (I am also not disparaging the author. He does a great job and keeps it interesting and freely moving). I started this book back in 2008 and would put it aside for a time as I would take up whatever took my fancy a ...more
Jul 28, 2015 Jaguar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“President Lincoln: Duty of a Statesman” by William Lee Miller is pretty much an biography of President Lincoln. I thought this book had a lot of information, and you will learn pretty much anything there is to know about Lincoln. The only problem, is I thought this book dragged on forever and was a bit to long for my taste. For me, it was like reading a history textbook, except it was all about Lincoln. You will learn Lincoln’s political views and such in here too.

Schawn schoepke
Dec 18, 2011 Schawn schoepke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The more I read about Lincoln the more impressed I am with him as an incredible leader and human being. He was not perfect and very possibly many of the things he did were done for a reason yet he did them and that is the big difference. This is what is missing in todays climate a total focus and falling back on what you believe. His ability to adjust and meander through all the obstacles is incredible. The Duty of a Statesman was a decent look at some of the world Mr. Lincoln successfully tread ...more
May 03, 2015 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shows the complexity of Lincoln as he learned the art of governing according to principle during his Presidency.
Ross Cohen
Mar 01, 2016 Ross Cohen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful work that argues the qualities that made President Lincoln great were the qualities that made him good.
Oct 04, 2014 Larry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scanned
What? No pictures???

An excellent detailed, well documented study of Lincoln as a leader. Emphasis on Lincoln as a war president facing the ethical and moral dilemmas thrust at him trying to hold a nation together that didn't necessarily want to stay together.

For people that have read Civil War history, this book is a must-read. If you've always wanted to start reading some Lincoln history, this is a good start. It's not a quick, simple read and the author tends to write as if he's addressing a c
Feb 23, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lincoln
Great Book on Lincoln's ability to lead during a great crisis
Jan 02, 2015 Sengthai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book
Aug 11, 2013 Jay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A compelling and thoughtful read. In my opinion, the best study of the moral dilemmas Lincoln faced during the war. My favorite chapter is entitled, "I Felt it my Duty to Refuse," and recounts the story of the famously soft-hearted Lincoln, upholding the death sentence of Nathaniel Gordon, the first, and only, American to be hung as a slave trader. Lincoln's only concession was a slight reprieve to allow the slaver to prepare "for the awful change that awaits him." No mercy this time.
Diane Heath
This would have been more interesting if it was less textbookish. When I checked it out I was hoping it would be more like Kearns Team of Rivals. At the time of his election, the American people underestimated Lincoln. He was much more politically savvy than given credit for and fortunately for America (and the Union) he was at the right place at the right time.
Susan Horan
Jul 25, 2011 Susan Horan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating examination of President Lincoln's personal moral code and how that morality shaped the major decisions and dilemmas of his presidency. After reading this, you'll know why Lincoln was not only our nation's greatest president, but one of its greatest human beings period.
Excellent analysis of Lincoln's words and actions (more about his words, however) as President. Does a particuarly nice job of analyzing his inaugural addresses and many of his thoughts about slavery and the Civil War. A little scholarly at times but very thought-provoking.
May 20, 2009 bernadette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Thoughtful study on how Lincoln approached the duties of his office and of how he allowed or did not allow his personal ethics to impact his decisions and actions in office. If only we had leaders today with the same moral integrity and political acumen.
Gayla Bassham
Jan 14, 2011 Gayla Bassham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
Highly readable study of Lincoln's presidency. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on Lincoln's use of the pardon power. His handling of McClellan was also highly interesting, to say the least. Very different from Obama and McChrystal!
Aug 15, 2009 Melodee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is a great book that chronicles the many decisions made by Lincoln during his term in office. It is a good reference for Lincolnophiles. I recommend it highly.
Tom Mackie
Jul 29, 2011 Tom Mackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lincoln-studies
Miller is a very elegant writer. His "The Duty of a Statesman" is a beautiful book to read and it provides a very strong insight into Lincoln strength.
Mar 12, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lincoln buffs, Civil War buffs
Shelves: read-2008
A very good book about the decisions President Lincoln had to make as the commander-in-chief of the country and as a human being. Very insightful.
Alex Cork
Dec 26, 2013 Alex Cork rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the way this was written. Shows what a true statesman Lincoln really was through small stories of his life.
Greg Wasserstrom
Apr 07, 2012 Greg Wasserstrom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, but not as tight as Lincoln's Virtues.
Sharon McCurdy
Sharon McCurdy marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2016
Becky marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2016
Nikki Prysiazny
Nikki Prysiazny marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2016
Rozadika Muhammad
Rozadika Muhammad rated it liked it
Jul 19, 2016
Harshal Bhatia
Harshal Bhatia marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 43 44 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words
  • The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows
  • Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural
  • Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President's War Powers
  • Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer
  • Looking for Lincoln: The Making of an American Icon
  • Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America
  • Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power
  • Abraham Lincoln: A Life
  • Lincoln  President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter, 1860-1861
  • Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution
  • The Age of Lincoln
  • Lincoln and Whitman: Parallel Lives in Civil War Washington
  • 1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • "We are Lincoln Men": Abraham Lincoln and His Friends
  • The Last Lincolns: The Rise & Fall of a Great American Family
  • The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon
William Lee Miller is Scholar in Ethics and Institutions at the Miller Center. From 1992 until his retirement in 1999, Mr. Miller was Thomas C. Sorensen Professor of Political and Social Thought and Director of the Program in Political and Social Thought at the University of Virginia. He was professor of religious studies from 1982 to 1999, and chaired the Department of Rhetoric and Communication ...more
More about William Lee Miller...

Share This Book