Skip to comments.Which Abraham Lincoln biography is the Best One?
Posted on 06/15/2010 12:04:20 PM PDT by winstonwolf33
I'm planning on reading a biography of Abraham Lincoln for a nice non-fiction change of pace. As you can imagine, there's so many Lincoln biographies out there I wouldn't know where to begin! Certainly, I would like to begin with the cream of the crop, but which one would it be? Even if I do a search in Amazon.com for Abraham Lincoln biographies sorted by five-star average customer reviews, a truckload of titles pop out.
Here's just a few of those titles:
Lincoln and His Admirals by Craig L. Symonds
Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words (Vintage) by Douglas L. Wilson
Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography by Jr. Philip B. Kunhardt, Philip B. Kunhardt III, Peter W. Kunhardt, and David Herbert Donald
The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words by Ronald C. White
Lincoln as I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes and Revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies by Harold Holzer
A. Lincoln: His Last 24 Hours by W. Emerson Reck
The Physical Lincoln Complete by John G. Sotos
Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years & the War Years (Library of the Presidents) by Carl Sandburg
The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln: The Story of America's Most Reviled President by Larry Tagg
Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport and Kadir Nelson
Lincoln's Other White House: The Untold Story of the Man and His Presidency by Elizabeth Smith Brownstein
Abraham Lincoln For The Defense by Warren Bull (Paperback - June 9, 2003)
Herndon's Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life : The History and Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln by William Henry Herndon and Jesse William Weik
Abraham Lincoln: The Man & His Faith by G. Frederick Owen
Tell Me of Lincoln: Memories of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and Life in Old New York by James Edward Kelly, William B. Styple, and James E. Kelly
The Essential Lincoln by Tim Davidson
With Charity for All: Lincoln and the Restoration of the Union by William C. Harris (Paperback - June 24, 1999)
So after a while, I pretty much gave up on Amazon and decided to just jump in here and see if I can get some feedback from my fellow Freepers. Any recommendations?
"Today's federal government is considerably at odds with that envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. Thomas J. DiLorenzo gives an account of how this came about in The Real Lincoln."
Walter E. Williams, from the foreword
Man! You are Johnny-on-the-spot! ;)
Is there one called “How we went from THESE United States to THE United States”...just wondering?
Carl Sandburg. Highly recommend.
Post quick, make popcorn
I’d recommend “The Real Lincoln” just for kicks. Set aside no more than a single evening, because it’s a remarkably breezy read. Gave me a good time, if not much intellectual stimulation. DiLorenzo goes quite a bit overboard, but some small part really needed to be said.
Stay away from crackpot history if you want the real story of the great president. Particularly those under the delusion that secession was legal and/or appropriate.
About the same time that Congress began to be spoken of as a singular?
Actually when the Constitution was adopted these United States became THE United States fortunately.
Let’s see how long it takes Lincoln’s Yankee cheering section to get here.
Secession was/is legal and Lincoln was a tyrant who suspended Habeas Corpus.
Ask yourself why Obama admires Lincoln so much.
We won, get over it! Hahahahaha!
Ronald C White
Forget Sandburg unless you’ve got a hankering for Lincoln fairy tales. Forget DiLorenzo unless you’ve got a hankering for rabid confederate revisionism. The best are probably “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald and “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and
There are no “best ones”. All Lincoln bios are either hagiographic worship-fests, or paint the man as the Devil Himself. I’ve yet to find a really balanced one.
My friend just recommended “Abe Lincoln - Vampire Hunter” to me, but that’s probably not what you’re looking for.
“We won, get over it! Hahahahaha!”
I've read several.
They all have the same ending.
Dang! I got distracted and I was too late!
We, the brave defenders of the glorious laws and Constitution of the United States.
It took the confederate Lincoln loathers two minutes and one second.
Stay away from admitted plagiarists too
The one by Kitty Kelly?
“We, the brave defenders of the glorious laws and Constitution of the United States.”
Oh. I thought you meant the aholes that corrupted a perfectly good Republic and dragged it into a European style democracy.
“We won, get over it! Hahahahaha!”
Yup, the south did win. Not the war, but the peace.
“Post quick, make popcorn”
Yep. The Lincoln-worshippers are already throwing themselves prostrate. The southerners are already here to correct the more egregrious blasphemies. Here we go again.
How many people died in Civil war, not worth it in my opinion.
What war was worth it? In your opinion.
“’Team of Rivals’ by Doris Kearns Goodwin”
This book is wildly popular, so unless it’s a huge fluke it can’t be all bad. But I think Goodwin is a hack historian and mediocre writer. More importantly, the main conceit of the book—that somehow internal rivalry made Lincoln’s administration strong and that Lincoln is somehow a genius for having planned it that way—remains largely unexplored. That is because it’s not teneable. Rivalry makes administrations rivalrous, not productive.
We all know the benefit of healthy competition, but I don’t see the application to Lincoln’s administration, and frankly I don’t see them as exceptionally successful. As for Lincoln being a genius, well, he is, but not because he assembled a team of rivals. In fact, that had nothing at all to do with Lincoln and everything to do with the Republican party being brand new and not yet having established a firm ideological range.
What’s left are interesting stories, naturally, those being interesting times. But thematically, it is empty.
“That came later.”
Ohh...different problem, eh? Like in AZ?
Don’t worry, State’s Rights will just be a memory soon.
Except when he sent his invasionary army down south.
Ariz. lawmaker takes aim at automatic citizenship
Honest Abe would never have stood for this. It’s an outrage!
What the hell do these States think they are doing, anyway? Trying to give their citizens what they want. Harrrrummmmph.
I read Team of Rivals. Liked it so much, I read it a second time.
If the South hadn't started the war there wouldn't have been any reason for any 'invasionary army'.
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Not bad if you are a confirmed leftist.
“My friend N-S is right, you know. Lincoln held off as long as he could. He wanted to send food to the men at Fort Sumter, but SC considered that a casus belli and it was the pretext they needed to open fire. Et voila - civil war.”
Damn good reason to kill half a million people, too! When do we invade those bastrds in AZ?
I suppose Lincoln could have surrendered once the confederates attacked Sumter. But then again, FDR could have surrendered after Pearl Harbor, Bush could have turned a blind eye over the invasion of Kuwait, and do on. Imagine all the lives that would have saved.
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