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The Life of Abraham Lincoln

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,897 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
According to Wikipedia: "Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 â€" April 15, 1865) was the sixteenth President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1861 until his assassination. As an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery in the United States, Lincoln won the Republican Party nomination in 1860 and was elected president later that year. During his term, he hel ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1901)
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Jordan Based on the PDF available at Internet Archive:

it looks like the book on paper was 435 pages.
Jordan I'm not sure if this is the original publication, but the copy on the Internet Archive at:

has a publication…more
I'm not sure if this is the original publication, but the copy on the Internet Archive at:

has a publication date of 1901.(less)

Community Reviews

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Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was written by Henry Ketcham in 1901, only 36 years after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. To put that in perspective, it is more recent to Ketcham than President Kennedy's assassination is to us, and Abraham's son Robert was still alive, as well as many other people who knew Abraham Lincoln firsthand. I think that gives Mr. Ketcham a distinct advantage over modern Lincoln biographers, not just from temporal proximity but also from a more accepted national feeling in 1901 of not sugar ...more
Sep 09, 2011 rated it liked it
A well-written book of the life of one of the greatest men in American history. The author's style of writing gave you the feeling of personally knowing the man. Many of today's political leaders need to read the book and follow some of Lincoln's honest policies, integrity in handling difficult problems and a deep sense of caring for his fellow man. He put the good of the country before his own personal needs.
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
About a third of the way into this very positive look at the life of Abraham Lincoln it came to my attention that the book was written in 1901. that explained a lot. the style of writing was a bit different from what we see today and I have to say that the portrayal of Lincoln was EXTREMELY positive, to the point of sometimes being excessive. That said though, it was a nice look at our 16th president.

The book was a free download from Amazon for the Kindle so the price was right too.
John Martindale
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
According to Wikipeda Henry Ketcham fought in the civil war. I wanted to read a history of Lincoln by someone who experienced some of the events and knew Lincoln. Ketcham definitely allowed me to see the Northern Unionist perspective, one would think from reading this that the only reason the South left the union was because of slavery. One might also come away thinking the North was completely blameless before the war and that Lincoln was the Souths greatest friend if only they could have recog ...more
Jason Schneeberger
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had been wanting to read a book on Abraham Lincoln for quite a long time and after looking around and seeing how many of them are out there, I was dumbfounded at where to begin. Also, I will be visiting Abe's hometown of Springfield, Illinois soon and wanted to freshen up on his history.

When I found THE LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, I decided that it would be a good starting point for two reasons. First, because it was written in 1901, I figured it would be neat to read a book from closer to when
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
In today's age of vitriolic politics, I found it heartening to read this audulatory biography of Abraham Lincoln. Although written over 100 years ago it was very readable. From the get-go Ketcham uses a well-chosen pallet of anecdotes to place the reader in the era of Lincoln's life. You know early on whether you'll enjoy this biography. It is a linear telling, in which Lincoln's upstanding character begins in his childhood and never waivers. Lincoln errs, of course, but in the context of his hu ...more
Ross Leavitt
Feb 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biographies, history
The first time I read this book, I was enamored by this incredible man. The detailed portrait was painted by an author not far removed from Lincoln's life, and he goes to great pains to highlight his subject's honest character, the development of his moral values, his strong leadership, and the noble vision he had for his nation.

Then I learned that there were two sides in the War Between the States.

Early in my reinvestigation of that conflict, I revisited this book, wondering whether the pro-Li
Erez Davidi
Sep 08, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a decent account of one of the most important US presidents, especially because it was published in 1901, a time when some people who actually knew Lincoln were alive. However, I have two reservations about this biography. The first is this biography is somewhat dull. Perhaps this is because the writing style was very different back then. Secondly, this not an objective biography by any measure. The author is clearly an admirer of Lincoln. Here is a short quotation to show illustrate how ...more
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
I've gotta thank another review on this site in regards to this book. He opened my eyes and made me realize there isn't much Abraham Lincoln in this book entitled "The Life of Abraham Lincoln." I love that it was written by a contemporary of that great president, but what you really get when you read this book is a history of the times in which Lincoln was alive. He was a minor character in this book. I don't feel that I got to know the man much at all and look forward to reading another biograp ...more
May 28, 2010 added it
Shelves: inspired-by
This is a great biography by a near contemporary of Lincoln (Ketcham met Lincoln twice). Ketcham's purpose is to give the reader a sense of what Lincoln was like as a person. The author impresses his own respect for the man on the reader. One is also given a glimpse into the life and times of America during Lincolns life. One comes away with a profound respect for the man, who looms larger than life.
Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
I am reading this on my Kindle - so it'll take a while. It's a good book so far - humanizes him! I've never been a history buff - so a lot of this book is news to me... Slow reading - not too much time, lately!I learned a lot about Lincoln, the Civil War & his generals... through the eyes of the author... I'm finally finished!
Jul 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Well written, but tooooo much history for me. I just couldn't possibly finish.

I started reading this to check the accuracy of Abe...Vampire Hunter. It's spot on!

To bad I need more intertainment when I read. It would be good for me to learn something now and then.
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The type of biography I enjoy most. An open love letter to the man who did so much for the country. This should be required reading for Americans.
Seth Rodriguez
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Abraham Lincoln was born in rural Kentucky in 1809, to parents of low social standing and little education. During his childhood and early youth, the family would move several times, first to Indiana and later to Illinois. Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks, died when Lincoln was still a boy, and the next year his father, Thomas remarried to Sarah Bush Johnston, who helped raise the young Lincoln.
Lincoln got his start in life after a pair of flatboat journeys to New Orleans. Soon afterward, he moved
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Given that this book was written in 1901, many of those mentioned, including the author, were alive at that time and also had first-hand knowledge and possibly met and knew Lincoln personally. I especially enjoyed reading about the early years because it shows his character being developed. Also, with so much hatred directed at him from many including statements that he should be killed as well as several attempts made to do just that, I can’t help but see parallels to the fanatical hatred and s ...more
Kristen Seaton
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Am amazing man

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know President Lincoln through Ketcham's intelligent, thoughtful style. The author does a good job of presenting Lincoln's many virtues while still showing his mistakes. Lincoln is a man to be studied and emulated, and this is a great pace to start.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book that was hard to put down. The book sheds a lot of light on his early years as a country lawyer and his political beginnings. It also gives the reader a real sense of the division and chaos the country was in during the war and even the several years leading up to it. The reader is guaranteed to have a renewed respect for Lincoln after reading this book.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Interesting on fun facts about Abraham Lincoln. It gives a brief history of the before Abe life (of his father and mothers history), then discusses Abe's life and how some people label him one of the best presidents of the time period and why.
Warren Cardiff
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
History brought to life!

Great! History at its best! If you love history or Abraham Lincoln you’ll love this book! I loved this book!
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Lincoln has always been my favorite president so it made sense to read his biography. This was written in 1901 not too long after his presidency and death. Very informative, still my favorite
Dec 07, 2014 added it
For my good reads report I read The Life of Abraham Lincoln. I thought it was an amazing book! It's definitely made for anyone that has interest in history. This vividly describes the life of Abraham Lincoln. The book kept me reading all the way until the end without getting bored, but that may be because I am interested in History. It's really interesting to read about the life of Abraham Lincoln and how everything happened.

The author's purpose was to inform all readers about the Life of Lincol
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A well written book. I thought it was written by a Johnny come lately but was surprised to find it was written by a man in his words "had the occasion to look at the President's face twice, once in life and once in death." Although it was obvious he was a diehard supporter of the 16th President I still appreciated what he brought to the table. I've read a lot of books on the Civil War and viewed Ken Burns's documentary which was the best. But this book gave me insight into mood of the time. His ...more
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children, friends, spouse, Americans
Shelves: biography
Saying that Abraham Lincoln was Christlike just would not paint an accurate picture of what he was like. He suffered much by people who should have been his friends, He was exceedingly slow to criticize. Lincon had many sufferings, yet maintiained his virtues.

I am totally inadequate to describe the increased depth of understanding that I came to about Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas, James Buchanan, Horace Greeley and others throug reading this book.

This book has definitely got me more interested in
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this far more than I had expected. Ketcham published this book in 1901, and I got the Kindle version free from I figured that something free and written relatively soon (36 years) after Lincoln's death would likely be a hero-worshiping, poorly written biography. Wrong!

Ketcham's historical perspective of Lincoln greatly surprised me. In some places, the author's praise of Lincoln was a little too much. But Ketcham often pointed out certain information that was widespread but
Barry Davis
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published in 1901, this is an extraordinary, loving tribute to one of the greatest of all American presidents, told by a general who served under him in the Union Army (although the author never alludes to this in his narrative. The insights regarding this exceptional individual, from his early childhood through his tumultuous political career through the pain of a divided nation and his sad death are shared with humanity and honesty. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes ...more
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written account of Lincoln's life from birth to death that was published in 1901. Ketcham does a nice job of interpreting Lincoln's character and political situations using writing from speeches, letters, and other sources. I learned from Ketcham that slavery was not looked upon favorably by the founders of the U.S.; it was originally written into the constitution that slavery would only be permitted until 1808. When that time came around, there were factors that contributed to the ...more
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Definitely a product of it's turn of the century (1901) publishing date but surprisingly insightful and charming despite it being dated. What the book loses in accuracy of more modern methods of 'objective reporting,' it gains in the feeling of immediacy. The historian has actually met his subject and is a participant in the subject's culture and world. I did not expect such an easy and charming read. So many humorous anecdotes-- especially of the early life of Lincoln. And the excerpts of his s ...more
Jul 19, 2010 rated it liked it
The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Henry Ketcham tells the story of Abraham Lincoln from the beginning of his life throughout his presidency and even after his untimely death by assasination. The author also gives us a good perspective on some other interesting people who lived at the same time as Lincoln. The book is very interesting in parts and wordy in some others but in the end I felt it was a good read and really helped me to appreciate Abraham Lincoln and all that he did for our country. Pres ...more
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time getting into this book at first. The writer's style felt a bit choppy & essay-like. ("Now I will tell you about...") Once I got used to his style, it was so interesting to learn more about this great man's personal & professional life, campaign & presidency. The writer had personal experiences & reports that added dimension to the facts & history of Abraham Lincoln.
Overall, it is worth the read. Worth enduring the writer's style to learn more about Lincoln,
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Henry Ketcham, the author of this book, was a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln. He was younger by 23 years; however was a General during the Civil War. The book was published in 1901, 40 years after the War.

The tone of the book is enhanced by the author, who had so close an experience with Lincoln. Every once in a while, he would say something like "...which sentiment still exists today."

I am overwhelmed by the narrative and how it explained Lincoln's demeanor, patience, kindness, intellect and
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“Lincoln had a masterful grasp of great subjects. He was able to look at events from all sides, so as to appreciate how they would appear to different grades of intelligence, different classes of people, different sections of the country. More than once this many-sidedness of his mind saved the country from ruin.” 1 likes
“In commenting on this defeat of Lincoln for the United States senate, the present writer wishes first of all to disavow all superstitions and all belief in signs. But there is one fact which is worthy of mention, and for which different persons will propose different explanations. It is a fact that in all the history of the United States no person has been elected direct from the senate to the presidency. This is the more interesting because the prominent senator wields a very powerful influence, an influence second only to that of the President himself. When one considers the power of a leading senator, one would suppose that that was the natural stepping-stone to the presidency. But history does not support this supposition. It teaches the opposite.” 0 likes
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