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Lincoln in the World: The Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  143 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
A captivating look at how Abraham Lincoln evolved into one of our seminal foreign-policy presidents—and helped point the way to America’s rise to world power.

This is the story of one of the most breathtaking feats in the annals of American foreign policy—performed by one of the most unlikely figures. Abraham Lincoln is not often remembered as a great foreign-policy preside
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Crown (first published January 1st 2013)
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I found this a great window on how Lincoln managed a series of crises that played a significant role in setting America on the path to become a world power. Just when the U.S. was most vulnerable from its Civil War, England and France were at the height of consolidating their empires, and the temptation to intervene was a substantial threat to the independent course of U.S. development. How a country lawyer who had never been outside the U.S. handled international relations makes for an interest ...more
Travis Starnes
Sep 27, 2013 rated it liked it
When I heard about this book I was intrigued. There have been a lot of books written about President Lincoln and I feel like I have read most of them. So I was happy to hear about an angle on the president I had not read before. Getting into the book it became clear Peraino certainly did his research. The world of international diplomacy can get pretty convoluted real fast and he manages to steer the reader through that world effectively.

As a straight up history book this Lincoln in the World wo
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book takes a fascinating look at Abraham Lincoln's role in not only changing the presidency but also into his impact on foreign policy-making. It also takes on his earlier life as both a lawyer and a statesman.

I found the book fascinating and interesting. I honestly had not seen any sort of books on his policy making. If there have been, it had been mostly brief. Most books tend to just cover his presidency and the impact his death made upon the Union.

I did not know of the British newspap
Sharon Huether
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I won this book through Goodreads. Lincoln in the World: The making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power By Kevin Peraino A thought came to me while reading this book. Lincolns presidency was much like manageing a three ring circus. The war between the states, his cabinet, congress and the European nations. I have more admiration for President Lincoln than I ever had before. I liked what the author said about Lincolns background in the prologue. Kudos to President Lincoln. He wrote his ...more
Steven Z.
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
The opening narrative of Kevin Peraino’s new book, LINCOLN IN THE WORLD: THE MAKING OF A STATESMAN AND THE DAWN OF AMERICAN POWER finds the Lincolns at Ford’s theater with Mary Todd Lincoln resting her hand on her husband’s knee. The author points out that this type of “tender” behavior was not the norm as Mrs. Lincoln was prone to spells of anger where she exhibited rather obnoxious and nasty behavior toward her husband which at times belittled him verbally for not having the wealth to take her ...more
Robin Friedman
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Charles Evans Hughes, a Secretary of State, Supreme Court Chief Justice, and presidential candidate, once observed that "we all need a course on Lincoln". For all the attention Lincoln receives, much remains to be learned. Kevin Peraino's new book, "Lincoln in the World: the Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power" (2013) explores a lesser-known aspect of Lincoln's presidency: his approach to foreign policy. Peraino served as senior writer and bureau chief for "Newsweek" and has wri ...more
Aaron Million
The rare book about Lincoln that does not focus on the Civil War, but instead on his foreign policy. This is Peraino's first book, although he has written extensively about foreign affairs for several magazines such as Newsweek. While I am glad that Peraino chose to explore a neglected part of Lincoln lore, I think he over-states his case that Lincoln was very focused on foreign policy during his tenure in office (and even prior to that).

He titles the chapters "Lincoln vs ..." and divides it up
Richard Subber
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It’s a surprising pleasure to read Peraino’s Lincoln in the World. I fancy myself to be an amateur expert on Lincoln, and, for me, this is a new angle on Old Abe. Of course, Lincoln’s role in the Civil War is part of the book, but it’s not the main theme. I realize that it’s too easy to forget that stuff was going on outside the United States while we were slogging through the Civil War. The US government, under Lincoln, maintained an active foreign policy, and attempted to influence and was inf ...more
Somehow in all the reading I've done on American Presidents, I've managed to skip over President Lincoln, I've never read anything about him, including one of President Obama's favorite books, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I've read more about former First Ladies, than I've read about our 16th president. I'm glad that with reading Lincoln in the World, that glaring oversight has been taken care of.

President Lincoln's foreign policy tends to be overshadowed by domestic policy in most sc
Dani Shuping
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: not-amazon
ARC provided by NetGalley

This book takes a close look at Lincoln's role as in foreign-policy making, from his early days as a congressman to his work as President of the United States. The author focuses each chapter on a particular person in Lincoln's life, such as the first chapter titled "Lincoln vs. Herndon" (his law partner) and how battles/conversations with each person shaped Lincoln's views and led him to the presidency. Although the author is at times a bit verbose, he does an excellent
Peter Mcloughlin
This book looks at how Lincoln as president dealt with foreign leaders and foreign policy during the Civil war. This was a time where there were multiple great powers vying for control and the balance of power. It resembles the international politics of the post American 21st century with multiple powers as well. It was no mean feat keeping European powers from getting involved in the American Civil war. Lord Palmerston of Britain at this time could make more trouble for Lincoln than anything th ...more
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book as a goodreads giveaway, which I was super excited about. I pretty much devour anything historical and this book was no exception. The book goes in-depth regarding Lincoln's role as a foreign policy setter and makes the argument that Lincoln may have been one of our country's greatest diplomats. I found this book to be extremely educational and enjoyable to read. I enjoyed Peraino's style of writing and I hope to read more of his work. If you want to learn more about Lincoln, I t ...more
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
While Lincoln came into the presidency with nothing but some notions about foreign policy. He did himself and the country a great service by bringing Seward into his cabinet. Seward did have some very good sense about dealings with other countries. The two of them, in time, became a great team. They kept the English from joining the south and they kept France from invading the US, with their forces in Mexico. One of the more surprising chapters deals with Karl Marx, the unemployed social comment ...more
Steve Smits
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Most historical works on the Civil War or biographies of Lincoln brush lightly on his record on to foreign affairs. Little is said of his position on the Mexican War as a one-term congressman during that conflict. During the Civil War reference to his administration’s foreign relations are usually limited to the Trent affair and to efforts to prevent intervention by the European powers on the side of the Confederacy. The French invasion of Mexico is often as a minor footnote in contrast to the s ...more
May 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at Lincoln's foreign policy starting with his stance as a congressman against the Mexican War, following through his policies as President and the aftermath of some of those policies after his assassination, finishing up with his influence on future Secretary of State John Hay.
Joseph J.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: students of Lincoln and 19th. century history; fans of Team of Rivals
I recently finished this book after a long hiatus...NOT because I found it boring. Far from it. Hurricane and family illness intervened over the months. Also I so enjoyed Kevin Peraino's writing and portrait of Lincoln I had put it aside at the final chapter on Lincoln and Napolean. The final chapter did not disappoint. Peraino does not pen a dry and dusty diplomatic history. Rather his picture of Lincoln is detailed and colorful, and constantly draws upon primary sources and personal observatio ...more
Fredrick Danysh
An analysis of the political development of Abraham Lincoln. The work also looks at the growth of the United States a a power on the world stage. It is an enlightening read.
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: civil-war
We don’t think of Lincoln as a great foreign-policy president, and all but a few of his diplomatic feats (such as the Trent affair) have been obscured or forgotten. Perino, however, has written a superb book on Lincoln’s record in this critical area. Perino also does a great job explaining Lincoln’s worldview and how it evolved.

Perino begins with the formative experience in foreign affairs for Lincoln: the Mexican War, which was partly waged to expand southern slave territory and based on quest
Nathan Albright
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Blogging For Books/Broadway Books in exchange for an honest review.]

Lincoln authors looking for relatively fresh areas of his life and career to work about [1] have a difficult challenge with all of the books that have been written about the Illinois man who was perhaps our nation’s greatest president. This book, written by a veteran foreign correspondent, takes the approach that we can learn something new about Lincoln based upon his behavior with
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Kevin Peraino’s Lincoln in the World is a well-researched and enjoyable book. The narrative takes up a little more than 300 pages, with more than 70 pages dedicated to the copious notes to the text. Peraino, a “veteran journalist” (according to the back cover), definitely approaches the topic in a news reporting way: he breaks down the topic into six digestible topics, linked by overarching themes in chronological order.

The sections of
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Peraino assembles an impressive amount of research to shed light on Lincoln through the lenses of his foreign policy and of impressions of him from abroad, both prior to and during his presidency. The book focuses on five key episodes the author feels best illustrates Lincoln’s diplomatic philosophy, including his objections to the 1846 American invasion of Mexico; his early sparring with Seward over control of foreign policy; the critical decision during the Trent crisis of 1861, which, had it ...more
The role that Abraham Lincoln had in transforming the presidency has primarily been viewed in the realm of domestic and of war powers while neglecting his contributions to the presidency in the role of foreign affairs. In "Lincoln in the World", author Kevin Peraino aimed to explore Lincoln's dealing with the international community while engaging in a civil war that threatened to involve other nations.

Peraino divided his book into six sections, five of which he compared Lincoln to an individual
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Kevin Peraino's study of Lincoln's foreign policy was an interesting read. I agreed with most, but not all, of his conclusions.

The book focuses on several key points in Lincoln's career: the Mexican War, his first inaugural, the affair with the British vessel Trent, the Emancipation Proclamation, and Napoleon III installing a puppet government in Mexico. Peraino picks Lincoln's "opponent" in each instance and compares the two.

The chapter on Lincoln's first inaugural was one of the strongest. Sew
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Certainly more so than any other American president, Lincoln has been the subject of gallons of ink. And so on it continues. Any new biographer, then, needs some way to separate their book from the pack. Peraino takes what at first seems an odd tack, to explore Lincoln’s foreign policy. After all, wasn’t the Civil War our most dramatically and thoroughly inward period, and wasn’t Lincoln the logsplitter a far cry from the cosmopolitan diplomat? Yes, to a point, but Lincoln’s foreign policy is we ...more
Quentin Stewart
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book offers a look at the Lincoln presidency and the Civil War that not too many others have looked at. Though tied down to a domestic crisis at home Lincoln also had to deal with foreign issues also. Probably the biggest issue was to keep the European powers from allying themselves with the Confederacy.

Peraino delves into the Lincoln foreign policy in relationship with six different individuals. He discusses Lincoln's developing foreign policy as he and his partner Herndon debate the issu
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
First of all, I got this book as part of Goodreads First Reads program. This book comes on the heels (sort of) the Lincoln film that did really well and probably renewed interest in Lincoln and his administration. Now, I have to admit, I've never really studied Lincoln, but, I thought I had a decent grasp on what he did and what his major accomplishments were.

This book is ostensibly about Lincoln's foreign policies, something which the author contends has been only lightly examined in the past.
Joseph Iliff
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Countless books have been written about Abraham Lincoln, most of them focusing either on his entire life, or his remarkable leadership skills as applied to the Civil War, which dominated the work of his presidency. But I have found few books that focus on, and try to harvest leadership lessons from his other actions, and the often overlooked issues he faced as a congressman, a candidate, and a world leader.

The nature of America's relations with the other nations of the world were changing fast d
Annie Chanse
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
***I won this book through the first reads giveaway program***

I really loved this book on Lincoln. Unlike many of the books I've read on Lincoln, this one focuses less on his life and childhood and more on his time in office and his policies. I was hesitant at first when I had never heard of the author. I usually only like to read non-fiction books from authors that I know and respect and can count on to tell fair and accurate stories, but Kevin Peraino did a marvelous job of painting a portrait
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Lincoln in the World: the Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power by Kevin Peraino is a book that takes a deep look into an often overlooked topic of the Lincoln administration--his foreign policy and how it helped to shape modern America. The book looks back at many different aspects of Lincoln's foreign relations, from his beginnings in Springfield debating the Mexican-American War with his law partner to the Trent affair and the communication between Napoleon III and Maxmillian o ...more
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