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Abraham Lincoln

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  300 ratings  ·  27 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published November 2nd 2011 by Dover Publications (first published 1916)
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Andrew Wolgemuth
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, audio
Abe Lincoln and the American Civil War has always been old and historic to me; Lord Charnwood's fine biography, on the other hand, published just fifty years after Lincoln's life ended. There's a different feel to his work as a result ... a freshness, if you will.

Charnwood's proximity to Lincoln doesn't, however, come at the expense of broad perspective. No, this book was written with an appropriate appreciation of all that Lincoln's leadership accomplished ... and how it fell short.

The text
In the waning weeks of Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial year, I am still being asked (because I teach a course every winter on Lincoln) what one book to read on the 16th President. Those who want facts can go to David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln (1995) and those who want anecdotes can go to Doris Kearns Goodwin’s over-exposed Team of Rivals (2005), but the most discerning portrait of Lincoln as statesman is still Lincoln by Lord Charnwood (Godfrey Rathbone Benson), published in 1917, still widely ...more
Priyanka Pathak
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it
A good read mostly talking about American civil war, rather than Lincoln's life..
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was interesting, since it was from the viewpoint of a Brit. I definitely gained some new insights and respect for Abraham Lincoln. Lord Charnwood is, however, quite wordy. Some of the battle descriptions felt unending...
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition




Abraham Lincoln is one of America's greatest heroes due to both, his incredible impact on the nation and his unique appeal. Lincoln’s is a remarkable story. A story of rise from humble beginnings to achieve the highest office in the land and then a sudden & tragic death at a time when his country needed him the most to complete the greatest task facing the nation. Lincoln's most significant action as the President was
Cynthia Egbert
This did offer new information as well as a different perspective to me where Lincoln is concerned. Charnwood is an apologist for Lincoln to the extreme so one has to understand that going in. As a silly side note, Charnwood had a bizarre obsession with the exact weight of every love interest who ever crossed Abe Lincoln's path. I will list the quotes I want to remember quickly below.

"Lincoln had few books at his disposal. These books he did read, and read again, and pondered, not with any
Fayyaz Mohammad
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book only because it was written and published just fifty years after Lincoln's life ended unexpectedly. Charnwood doesn't just share letters or facts; rather, he tries hard to unpack each and every move and discusses the context in length. For me, some events from the U.S. were had to understand, as I am not well versed with the geography and history of America compared to UK or US readers. A slight free-flowing language would have made the reading better.

The book explores the
Mohd Ashraf
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
my view of Abe is that he is honest, despise injustice, merciful, compassionate and honourable.

this biography is amazing and allowed one to fairly experience Abraham Lincoln; his goodness as well as his flaws. more importantly his commanding power in oratory skills. his prose are simple yet overpowering.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good and informative biography of Abraham Lincoln published in 1917. This book is for the person who truly wants to know more about this unique individual.
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: divulgation
Great, inspirational, educational and edifying. Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Jun 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

“Abraham Lincoln” is the 1916 biography of Lincoln by British author, scholar and politician Lord Charnwood. Born Godfrey Benson the year before Lincoln’s death, Charnwood was named a Baron in 1911. His biography remains one of the earliest works on Lincoln available to the modern reader. Charnwood, who also authored a 1923 biography of Theodore Roosevelt, died in 1945 at the age of 80.

Although seldom read today, Charnwood’s biography was widely acclaimed
I am rereading, both for pleasure and for my Winter Quarter course, Lord Charnwood’s 1917 biography of Abraham Lincoln. It is the best one-volume study of Lincoln, unless the reader is more interested in day-to-day facts, and for that, David Herbert Donald is unexcelled. Lord Charnwood (Godfrey Rathbone Benson, 1st Baron Charnwood [1864-1945]), who served in parliament, is unexcelled in two respects: he explains the historical and political context of Lincoln’s time (see David Potter work for ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it
"These books he did read and read again, and pondered, not with any dream or intellectual interest but like one who desires the weapon of learning for practical ends and desires also to have patents of what life should be."

"His life in one sense was very full of companionship but it is probable that in his real intellectual interests he was lonely."

"In expressing the result of thought so far deeper than that of most men, he achieved a clearness of expression which very few writers and those
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very apt that I finished this biography on the date of Lincoln's death. Picked this up after it was featured as a "masterpiece" by the Wall Street Journal. While not the one book about Lincoln that one should read, it is one of the books that an interested person should read about Lincoln. Written 100 years ago, it is written in a somewhat antique style that will cause the modern reader some trouble. (though I swear some of the more opaque sequences may be gaps in the Kindle edition.)The value ...more
Jack Laschenski
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1916, this is an outstanding biography of Lincoln - probably the best there is.

It captures the spirit of the man, warts and virtues, and his spectacular wisdom.

It is also a political history of the North and South in the era of the war. It establishes conclusively that the South went to war to proclaim and ensure its right to enslave other human beings.

How timid the northern politicians were before the war! Since the founding, they bowed and scraped to the wishes of the politicians of
May 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this book, written in 1917 by Lord Charnwood. Outstanding piece of work. At the time it was published it was considered a landmark biography. The book does an outstanding job of tracing Lincoln's life from the frontier of Kentucky/Indiana and Illinois and from being literally dirt poor to the best president this country has ever had. It combines detailed political facts with Lincoln's evolving personage. Better yet, it starts way before the Civil War and helps to establish the ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Goodreads winner.
This century-old biography of Abraham Lincoln is engaging and well-worth reading. Written by an Englishman for a British audience approximately 50 years after Lincoln's assassination.The beginning of the book is a review of the history of America from a British point-of-view. Despite its age this book stands the test of time and is an intelligent look at Lincoln who is among the great men of our time. Charnwood's admiration and respect for Lincoln is evident from the beginning.
James Foley
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A clear and well-argued biography of Abraham Lincoln written by an Englishman born during the Civil War and published during the First World War, this book holds Lincoln in great esteem. Because the writer is not American, because he is raised in a very different political system he is acutely aware of what the American President is and is not. The book shows how the limits of Lincoln's education brought forth some of the best prose written in English and why the limits and clarity of his ...more
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Given To Me For An Honest Review

The book about Abraham Lincoln is a great read. Lord Charnwood did a fantastic job with his writing and sharing of information. It is done as though he is with you and is talking with you instead of you reading the book. I found quite a bit of information in this book that I had not known previously. A read anyone who loves history would enjoy. I highly recommend it to all.
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an eminently quotable book and overall a great read, though to be honest after a while the tactical history of the civil war tends to cause one's eyes to glaze over. The book is very good at discussing Lincoln's origins, basic American history, and the history of slavery and abolitionism from the time of the government's founding through to the end of the civil war.
Brian Hull
Oct 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the best book I've ever read, but it was pretty good...allthough, I will read any book about the greatest American who ever lived in the history of the world. Can't wait to read more about our 16th President.
Forget the superb biographical portrait of the Great Emancipator—the first seventy pages comprise the most brilliant and penetrating précis of the opening half of the inaugural American century as one will ever encounter. Those turn of the century British lords really were something else...
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gwu
Wow. Reading the story of the Civil War via Lincoln's life is moving and thought provoking. The subject is painful to study and face but it should be done. I look forward to studying Lincoln's speeches and life over again.
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book I read this year -- terrific insight into Lincoln's character and times. Definitely my favorite biography -- worth reading if you've never read it.
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't really care for this as a biography- I don't really feel like I learned anything new about Lincoln and that it wasn't really about Lincoln all of the time. My rating sums it up, it was ok.
Bency Varghese
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Godfrey Rathbone Benson, 1st Baron Charnwood (6 November 1864 – 3 February 1945) was a British author, academic, Liberal politician and philanthropist.
Benson was born in Alresford, Hampshire, the son of William Benson, a barrister, and Elizabeth Soulsby Smith. He was educated at Winchester and Balliol College, Oxford. He graduated in 1887, and would later become a philosophy lecturer at Balliol.
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“Much the same may be said of his ancestry and family connections.” 0 likes
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