After seeing Harold Holzer on the Lou Dobbs show talking about his new book, I decided to read it, in part, to be able to reflect and compare how Linc...moreAfter seeing Harold Holzer on the Lou Dobbs show talking about his new book, I decided to read it, in part, to be able to reflect and compare how Lincoln used his time as President-Elect with the current President-Elect status of Barack Obama we are living in today. Harold goes to great lengths to detail every single moment, if possible, into weekly chunks, of Lincoln's excruciatingly long 4 month's as President-Elect. Harold Holzer did a great job with this book, and it was highly readable. The constant office seekers, the photo and sculptor sitting sessions, the telegraph office visits, the press hounding him to speak out about the status of secession, the hide-away where he worked on his first inaugural address, and his mistake laden victory train ride to Washington, are all vividly described in this biography. And yes, the never ending theme of the unqualified office seeker who shows up in Lincoln's presence asking for great favors are written into almost every page, almost to nausea. But I only had to read about it. Lincoln had to live it.(less)
I was stunned right from the get-go by the enormous amount of information that has been gathered about this event. Swanson describes how numerous hist...moreI was stunned right from the get-go by the enormous amount of information that has been gathered about this event. Swanson describes how numerous historians and contemporaries have been able to piece together what happened in great detail, and he was able to ride on the shoulders of these many to tell as complete a story as possible. He explains how Thomas Jones, a former Confederate agent who helped Booth and Herold hide for 5 days and 4 nights in the thick woods near his home, lived into his 70's, and thereby filling in an abundance of detail that quite easily have been lost forever. And Swanson does a spectacular job of capturing the imagery needed to portray the action successfully to his reader. A captivating read. (less)
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...moreWith 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 historians who is uniquely gifted to be able to accurately convey an intellectual examination of our 16th President. Lincoln was so uniquely talented as a western-minded conversationalist, a gifted stump speaker, and one of our nation's greatest writers because he had a deep passion for studying life through literature. Lincoln loved to read the Bible, Shakespeare, classical literature, and history to better understand his surroundings. White explains that Lincoln used that understanding to feed his ambition to make a real and positive difference in the troubled world he saw around him.
This book chronicles Abraham Lincoln's family life, relationships, and politics, but brings to the forefront his intellectual growth, which I find the most fascinating. In particular, I enjoyed White's examination of all of Lincoln's major letters, speeches, and addresses and how they are related not only to the events of the time, but also to each other. Again, all of the major events in Lincoln's life are covered, with the exception of leaving out extensive details which would make this already hefty 800+ page volume even larger. But what White did for me in this biography is to put Lincoln's whole life into a big picture. His family life, relationships, and intellectual study are woven together neatly so that one gets to understand the man and his passions, all in one place. This biography was exceptionally well done, and highly recommended to anyone interested in our 16th President, especially those who choose to learn about him for the very first time.(less)
I thought James McPherson did a great job with his objective of writing a short biography of Abraham Lincoln. He covers all of the most important even...moreI thought James McPherson did a great job with his objective of writing a short biography of Abraham Lincoln. He covers all of the most important events in Lincoln's life, while also filling us in on recent scholarship that historians today are still debating about. All major themes are covered, and because of it's brevity, this text is highly recommended to anyone who is interested in a short one sitting with Abraham Lincoln.(less)
White suggests how Lincoln's train of thought progresses, and matures throughout his life, and the war, and how that progression culminate into his fi...moreWhite suggests how Lincoln's train of thought progresses, and matures throughout his life, and the war, and how that progression culminate into his final address. I highly enjoyed it.(less)