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Abraham Lincoln: A Life

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  143 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
In the first multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln to be published in decades, Lincoln scholar Michael Burlingame offers a fresh look at the life of one of America’s greatest presidents. Incorporating the field notes of earlier biographers, along with decades of research in multiple manuscript archives and long-neglected newspapers, this remarkable work will both alter ...more
Hardcover, 2024 pages
Published December 10th 2008 by Johns Hopkins University Press (first published October 12th 2008)
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Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it

“Abraham Lincoln: A Life” is Michael Burlingame’s 2008 two-volume biography of our sixteenth president. Burlingame is the author or editor of over a dozen books on Abraham Lincoln. His mentor was renowned Lincoln scholar David Herbert Donald (who taught a Civil War course Burlingame took as a freshman at Princeton). He is currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

The scale and scope of Burlingame’s biography of Lincoln is breathtak
James Murphy
Sep 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Reading only the 1st volume at this time.

I read only this 1st volume of Burlingame's huge biography of Lincoln, saving the 2d for a later time. This volume takes him up to the eve of his 1st inauguration. The biography is big in scope and meticulous in detail. The only biography of Lincoln I can remember reading, this was promoted as offering new insight into a childhood in which the relationship with his father was strained, even abusive, and is therefore useful in explaining the formation of t
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Having read half a dozen biographies of Abraham Lincoln I was hopeful that volume one of the new massive two volume bio. of Lincoln by Michael Burlingame would contain fresh material and insight. I was not disappointed . Mining newspaper accounts , letters,speeches,court room records,and personal recollections all from his contemporaries (as well as Lincoln himself) Burlingame has uncovered a wealth of material. It all goes towards showing the formation and growth of a remarkable man. The author ...more
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The best biography I have read on one of my favorite presidents-Abraham Lincoln. It was a large read and loved the way it came in two volumes and broke it down. Volume One:Starts with Abraham Lincoln's childhood. He was born in a log cabin in Kentucky and faced hardships growing up with his mother died from milk sickness when Abe was young. The rest of the family moved to Indiana and Illinois. It talks about the debates in 1858 between him and Stephen Douglas. In 1860 he became the 16th presiden ...more
It sucks reading this on my ipad because nobody can see WHAT A HUGE BOOK I'M READING! Also, when I casually drop in conversation that I'm reading a bio of Lincoln, everyone assumes it's that vampire hunter one. Maybe they're just pretending to think that to spite me. It's hard to tell. But now you know the impressive truth about me! Oh, you want to know something about the book? Well, the first 28% is really good. I never realized what a bastard Stephen A. Douglas was, but this is the kind of st ...more
Jan 24, 2009 is currently reading it
Massive, new and proported to be the most comprehensive and well researched biography of Lincoln yet and, so far, it looks to be so to me. I have already found that he has used a lot of newly found documents I have not heard of before. Fairly daunting read- over 2,000 small print pages in 2 volumes. So far, worth it.
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you wish to read the definitive work on Abraham Lincoln go no further than Billingame's 2 volume 1605 page (citations not included) tome. This work has it all and is remarkably readable. The detail, balance, and scholarship of this colossal work are simply incredible, but be prepared for the long journey. This book is not for those with ADD.
Tom Mackie
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lincoln-studies
This very complete work is a wonderful source on the life of Abraham Lincoln. Its great size though is at times fearful, but if you need to understand Lincoln and have a quick reading skills this two volume set is for you.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary detail. Not always an easy read but this biography brings Lincoln to life. Having read this before the Spielberg film, the Daniel Day-Lewis portrayal is impressive and rings true.
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
two volumes of pure Lincoln from all aspects of his life,speehes and interaction with those indivduals who were instrumental in shaping the country once and for all.A must read for all Lincoln Lovers
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
5++ stars. the best and most complete portrait of Lincoln I've ever read. On a par with Caro's LBJ biography for pure illumination of a political mind.
Sean Pratt
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book! Truth be told, I'm also the narrator for the audio book version. It's projected to be 80 hours long.
Scott Cox
A journalist once remarked regarding Abraham Lincoln that "never was a man more cat-like in stealthily feeling his way before him." This is perhaps an excellent summary of the genius of America's great 16th president who had to balance Union conservatives (pro-slavery) and radical abolitionist interests in order to preserve the Union during a time of rebellion. However this does not capture the true heart of Abraham Lincoln. He was a man of humble beginnings, mostly self-taught, and who since ch ...more
Adam Phillips
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant book about a brilliant man. Everyone should be required to read this
Wow...just wow. Magisterial. Greatest Lincoln biography I've read. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Jul 10, 2009 marked it as to-read
Powerful review by Christopher Hitchens in The Atlantic (July 09).
Naomi Blackburn
Jun 10, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was really good and all encompassing. I think I gave it 3 stars simply for its' length and dedication of time that I needed to give it. It is really a behemouth of a book.
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read as much of it as I could before I had to return it. Brilliant book. The end all in Abraham Lincoln biographies. I will own it in the future for my personal library. It's a must have.
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have read a number Lincoln biographies but this one spares no minutia and it is written as if you are at Lincoln's side throughout his life.
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Longer than the Bible or War and Peace, Burlingame's masterful biography is well...long. Need a quote? It's there. A detail about the Great Man. Burlingame has it. A truly Magisterial Effort!
Feb 17, 2011 marked it as to-read
Recommended in the 2011 Booklover's Calendar.
Jerel Wilmore
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A truly epic biography of our nation's greatest president.
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Dec 21, 2009
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Michael Burlingame is the author of THE INNER WORLD OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1994) and the editor of a dozen books of Lincoln primary resource materials. He taught history at Connecticut College in New London for 33 years, retiring in 2001 to devote full time to ABRAHAM LINCOLN: A LIFE. That work is based on extensive research in manuscripts, newspapers, and public records, many of them overlooked or u ...more
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