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Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  380 ratings  ·  89 reviews
By March 4, 1865, the Civil War had slaughtered more than 700,000 Americans and left intractable wounds on the nation. After a morning of rain-drenched fury, tens of thousands crowded Washington's Capitol grounds that day to see Abraham Lincoln take the oath for a second term. As the sun emerged, Lincoln rose to give perhaps the greatest inaugural address in American histo ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Atlantic Monthly Press
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May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: presidents
It was a great speech, yes; brief, literate, rhythmic. Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address still sends chills with its blueprint of hope and compassion. It defines the author of the speech, too, which in a way was a point of this book.

Yet, there's more here. Edward Achorn has done something remarkable within. He takes one 24-hour period, from Friday night, March 3, 1865 to Saturday night, March 4, 1865. That Saturday was the day of Lincoln's second inaugural. But in the telling, almost a
Jennifer Schultz
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read if you: Want an insightful look at Lincoln, but don't want a massive birth-to-death biography.

Several years ago, I embarked on a presidential biography reading project, in which I read a biography of each president (I finished in Obama's second term). I've loved presidential biographies since I was a child, but a presidential biography has to have a different take/perspective in order for me to want to read it.

This is an engrossing and revealing account of the waning years of the Civil Wa
Nancy Kennedy
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just when you think nothing new can be written about the Civil War! I can't say I'm a fan of war books, but "Every Drop of Blood" is more than about war. The author spins a tale of the times through the lens of Lincoln's second inauguration.

The title comes from a passage in Lincoln's brief second inaugural address: "Yet if God wills that it [the war] continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood
Steven Z.
May 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Recently I read Ted Widmer’s new book LINCOLN ON THE VERGE: THIRTEEN DAYS TO WASHINGTON. In Widmer’s narrative he explores a number of Abraham Lincoln’s most important speeches given during his odyssey across America to his first inauguration in 1861. When I came across Edward Achorn’s equally new book EVERY DROP OF BLOOD: THE MOMENTOUS SECOND INAUGURATION OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN I expected the author to focus more on Lincoln’s iconic speech in March 1865. Much to my disappointment the book focuses o ...more
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Hardback edition. Abe Lincoln said "Those who deny
freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; &
under a just God, cannot long retain it." (pg 86) The
author explored the complexity of Lincoln's thoughts
and opinions.

The author explored why Abe Lincoln was popular or
scorned in the North & South. And who he claimed as
allies (IE General US Grant, George Burt Lincoln : no
relation, John Bingham, Judge David Davis) or compet-
itors (IE Salmon Chase, Senator Stephen Douglas etc.)
And the news
Oct 08, 2020 rated it liked it
So here’s the deal: when the pandemic began I was almost thrilled at the prospect of almost unlimited free reading time and except for the pesky demands for food and clean clothing with the odd nod to basic sanitation, that proved to be the case.

However, my expectations of actually reading A LOT OF BOOKS, like WAY more than usual, ended up looking more like this thing my son sent me - which I can’t seem to insert on my phone - so, paraphrasing and apologizing re attribution etc

I love books! I’m
Douglas Fugate
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address is argued by some to be his finest written or spoken work.
I confess that the title alone drew me to the work.
This book concentrates on folks who prepared for, viewed or remembered the actual inauguration. The story is told from varying viewpoints. There are politicians – pro and con, spies, taxi drivers, and soldiers – wounded, Negro, officers and enlisted. There are various groups of citizens from through-out the country in town to participate in the
Bruce Katz
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Extremely well-done history of the speech itself and the many threads of history of history that led up to it: the war itself (of course), the public perceptions of Lincoln (surprisingly crude and unforgiving), the people and their experiences (an extraordinary assembly that includes, in part, Walt Whitman tending to wounded soldiers in the hospitals; John Wilkes Booth, seething through DC and elsewhere and tending a secret romance with the daughter of a sitting American senator; Salmon P. Chase ...more
Trick Wiley
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Different type of book from some of the other books I have read about Lincoln. I just say out loud such a interesting man and to think how he so didn't fit in when was young,starting out before he met his wife. He had a belief and he tried too stay true to them. I'm from the South and I know all about slavery but he was right,no one has the right to own another human being but there were some,more than you think that Southerns did take care of the ones they owned. To much politics and not enough ...more
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Though I have read some books over the years about Lincoln (the assassination plot in Manhunt by James L. Swanson and The Lincolns in the White House by Jerrold M. Packard), I did learn some new things: Lincoln's fluidity on the slavery question, that Andrew Johnson was drunk at this inauguration, that several links connected with John Wilkes Booth and the assassination were not investigated--primarily because one of Booth's love interests was a prominent senator's daughter--and that views on th ...more
Urey Patrick
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Achorn’s richly detailed history of Lincoln’s second inaugural places the event in its chaotic social, political and military context. He convincingly recreates the experience of being in Washington on March 4, 1865. Along the way he digresses into wonderfully revealing personality profiles of the people in Washington, in Lincoln’s orbit, and on the edges, including Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass and John Wilkes Booth among many others, figures well known and not, political, ,military, social, ...more
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Six weeks before Lincoln's assassination, the President delivered his second inaugural address in Washington. As he addressed the crowd, John Wilkes Booth, thwarted in an attempt to kidnap Lincoln only minutes before, stood in the crowd on the Capitol steps only meters away. This is the centerpiece of this snapshot of a few days during the presidency of Lincoln.

And yet it undersells the richer details that makes the book compelling. The book does follow closely the actions and mindsets of both L
Steve Smits
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Do I really need another book on Lincoln? Of course, I do. This book gives a fascinating look at the days leading up to and following the inauguration of Lincoln for a second term. The focal point, his memorable address, is analyzed cogently. It was interesting to read how the editorial reactions across the country varied so widely; many entirely missing the beauty and significance of this speech. Rather than a triumphant and celebratory message, Lincoln showed that the war's cause -- slavery -- ...more
Susan Stuber
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This is a terrific book. Achorn brings not only the inauguration, but all the events around it and all the persons involved, particularly Lincoln, to life, but also his friends Walt Whitman and Frederick Douglass. You get to understand the animosity between the north and the south, the republicans and the democrats, and you are amazed at how more things change, the more the stay the same. Very rich, too, the excerpts from various newspapers of the time, the language they used, how they regarded ...more
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
We were supposed to go to Springfield and visit Lincoln historical sites over Spring Break, but that trip got postponed. In the meantime, I was still able to learn about Lincoln through this great book.
Although this book focuses on Lincoln’s second inaugural, it’s about much more than that. It weaves together the stories of many people who attended the event, including Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, and John Wilkes Booth. However, Abraham Lincoln is at the center of it all, and I enjoyed lear
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great use of primary sources and correspondence to give us a 360 view of the pivotal 48 hours surrounding the Second Inaugural Address. Lincoln, his assassin, the Cabinet, the Abolitionists and a host of secondary characters come alive to give us a sense of the audience for the words “malice towards none and charity for all”. A tremendous work of historical investigation. I predict it will win the Pulitzer.
Todd Stockslager
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Review title: American Scripture

The United States owes its soul to Jefferson, a rational Deist who denied the divinity of Jesus yet perfectly expressed the mystery of man's equality before God in his Declaration. It owes its establishment to Washington, a landowner, surveyor, and ofttimes losing general who yet understood the skills needed to form a more perfect union. It owes it sinews to Hamilton, who never held an elected position yet planned and implemented the financial infrastructure that
John Bicknell
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Here's my dual review of "Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington" by Ted Widmer and "Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln" by Edward Achorn:
John Zajc
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Achorn expertly weaves together contemporary accounts to provide us with a special view of Lincoln's second inaugural address. ...more
Jessica Rodrigues
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfiction, arc
An immersive look at the world surrounding President Lincoln's second inauguration March 4th, 1865. As someone who has read several books about Lincoln's presidency, I was pleasantly surprised to learn some new things, and topics are covered with a mix of solemnity and humor.

Also, I laughed out loud at the chapter discussing how Vice President Johnson showed up at the inauguration incredibly drunk and launched into an hour-long diatribe, horrifying Republicans and thrilling Democrats.

arc receiv
Melinda M
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every Drop of Blood: Hatred and Healing at Abraham Lincoln's Second Inauguration
by Edward Achorn takes an impressive look at the world in while Lincoln delivers his second Inauguration address. It is well documented . It is detailed and is a different look at the cultural and the daily world at that time. It is well written.

I received a copy thru a Goodreads Giveaway.
May 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Don’t bother. A nothing burger. I’m not sure why this was well received. I literally learned nothing I did not already know about the last month of Lincoln’s life. And the Ken Burns mini treatment is tired.
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very detailed account of the weekend of Lincoln's second inauguration and of his inaugural address where he said "With malice toward none, with charity for all...". That narrative is the hub from which various spokes emanate: what sort of a person is {fill-in-the-blank} and what was his state of mind? -- the "blanks" being John Wilkes Booth, Andrew Johnson, Salmon Chase, Lucy Hale, Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Abe Lincoln himself, and others. Achorn does an excellent job of making ...more
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I was pleased with Every Drop of Blood on many counts.  First, Achorn reviewed a tremendous array of primary sources like newspaper articles and editorials, individual diaries and memoirs, correspondence, and collections of papers by many of the people who knew and/worked with Lincoln.  He also reviewed a number of secondary sources: journal articles and books.  

Second, he presented all of this information in a well organized, comprehensive, highly nuanced, and well documented analysis of the so
Abraham Allende
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
My fascination with Abraham Lincoln drew me to read yet another book about him. This one focuses on his second Inauguration in 1865, and his brief, 750-word inauguration speech. Though the speech was the centerpiece of the book, the author, Edward Achorn, offers a broad sketch of the days and events preceding the inauguration, the long and arduous Civil War that was waning in the background; and, of course, the tragedy that cut Lincoln's life short six weeks later.
We get glimpses into the peopl
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steven Rubin
I've read several Lincoln books and this one is right up there among the best of them. Although the second inauguration is the focal point, the stage is set with rich context: Lincoln's first term, the evolution of his thinking about slavery, the horrors of the war, the streets of Washington in March of 1865, and the contrast between the opulent homes and soirees of Washington's elite and the bars, whore houses, and overwhelmed hospitals in the city. There are fascinating portraits of Walt Whitm ...more
Lake Villa District Library
[Re]AD in 2020: [Re]PRESENT Your Community and Country. Find this book in our catalog! ...more
Anthony Poselenzny
An excellent telling of the people and their times. Very informative and very interesting reading. Lots of stuff I didn’t know.
Nick Vantangoli
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I listened to it via audible while tending to yard work. It really started to hop around at times...but overall it is a good read.
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm a Lincoln fan and a Civil War buff, but this book was heavy going for me. In the first third or so I almost set it aside - the author seemed determined to reprint everything nasty ever said about Lincoln by his contemporaries - North or South, published or private - presented with little commentary. Eventually the story, as it were, got moving - towards the second inaugural and then the assasination. Achorn tracks many historical figures through these days, some of them central to the action ...more
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Edward Achorn, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Distinguished Commentary, is an editorial page editor with The Providence Journal. He is also author of Fifty-Nine in ’84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had. His reviews of books on American history appear frequently in the Weekly Standard. He lives in an 1840 farmhouse outside of Providence, Rhode Island ...more

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