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Which Abraham Lincoln biography is the Best One?
June 15, 2010 | Winstonwolf33

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?


TOPICS: Books/Literature; History
KEYWORDS: abrahamlincoln; booklist; confederate; dishonestabe; greatestpresident
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1 posted on 06/15/2010 12:04:20 PM PDT by winstonwolf33
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To: winstonwolf33

"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

2 posted on 06/15/2010 12:06:21 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner

Man! You are Johnny-on-the-spot! ;)


3 posted on 06/15/2010 12:06:48 PM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: winstonwolf33
Stephen Oates belongs on the list. I have always liked Sandburg for its literary qualities. Likewise Bruce Catton's three-volume centennial Civil War history.

4 posted on 06/15/2010 12:06:51 PM PDT by Genoa (Luke 12:2)
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To: winstonwolf33

Is there one called “How we went from THESE United States to THE United States”...just wondering?


5 posted on 06/15/2010 12:07:06 PM PDT by jessduntno (Afghanistan: Lithium is the new oil. Where are the NO WAR FOR LITHIUM protests?)
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To: winstonwolf33
With Malice Toward None

Recommended by the park service at Lincoln's home in Springfield.
6 posted on 06/15/2010 12:07:52 PM PDT by Fred (We are doomed)
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To: winstonwolf33

Carl Sandburg. Highly recommend.


7 posted on 06/15/2010 12:08:31 PM PDT by IndyTiger
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To: Constitution Day

Post quick, make popcorn


8 posted on 06/15/2010 12:09:53 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner

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.


9 posted on 06/15/2010 12:10:24 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: stainlessbanner

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.


10 posted on 06/15/2010 12:11:25 PM PDT by arrogantsob
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To: stainlessbanner

Great book.


11 posted on 06/15/2010 12:12:17 PM PDT by mrmeyer ("When brute force is on the march, compromise is the red carpet." Ayn Rand)
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To: jessduntno

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.


12 posted on 06/15/2010 12:12:52 PM PDT by arrogantsob
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To: arrogantsob

What, Sir??


13 posted on 06/15/2010 12:12:56 PM PDT by Genoa (Luke 12:2)
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To: stainlessbanner

Exactly.

Let’s see how long it takes Lincoln’s Yankee cheering section to get here.


14 posted on 06/15/2010 12:13:03 PM PDT by AzaleaCity5691
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To: arrogantsob

Secession was/is legal and Lincoln was a tyrant who suspended Habeas Corpus.

Ask yourself why Obama admires Lincoln so much.


15 posted on 06/15/2010 12:14:10 PM PDT by AzaleaCity5691
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To: AzaleaCity5691

We won, get over it! Hahahahaha!


16 posted on 06/15/2010 12:14:26 PM PDT by Genoa (Luke 12:2)
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To: stainlessbanner

Ronald C White


17 posted on 06/15/2010 12:14:33 PM PDT by Cyman
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To: winstonwolf33

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


18 posted on 06/15/2010 12:14:35 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: winstonwolf33

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.


19 posted on 06/15/2010 12:14:36 PM PDT by DesScorp
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To: winstonwolf33

My friend just recommended “Abe Lincoln - Vampire Hunter” to me, but that’s probably not what you’re looking for.


20 posted on 06/15/2010 12:14:44 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: winstonwolf33

21 posted on 06/15/2010 12:15:37 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: Genoa

“We won, get over it! Hahahahaha!”

“We?”


22 posted on 06/15/2010 12:15:55 PM PDT by jessduntno (Afghanistan: Lithium is the new oil. Where are the NO WAR FOR LITHIUM protests?)
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To: winstonwolf33
Which Abraham Lincoln biography is the Best One?

I've read several.

They all have the same ending.

23 posted on 06/15/2010 12:17:29 PM PDT by N. Theknow (Kennedys: Can't fly, can't ski, can't drive, can't skipper a boat, but they know what's best.)
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To: stainlessbanner

Dang! I got distracted and I was too late!


24 posted on 06/15/2010 12:19:15 PM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: jessduntno

We, the brave defenders of the glorious laws and Constitution of the United States.


25 posted on 06/15/2010 12:19:17 PM PDT by Genoa (Luke 12:2)
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To: AzaleaCity5691
Let’s see how long it takes Lincoln’s Yankee cheering section to get here.

It took the confederate Lincoln loathers two minutes and one second.

26 posted on 06/15/2010 12:20:05 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: arrogantsob

Stay away from admitted plagiarists too


27 posted on 06/15/2010 12:20:19 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: winstonwolf33

The one by Kitty Kelly?


28 posted on 06/15/2010 12:20:26 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Genoa

“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.


29 posted on 06/15/2010 12:20:43 PM PDT by jessduntno (Afghanistan: Lithium is the new oil. Where are the NO WAR FOR LITHIUM protests?)
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To: Genoa

“We won, get over it! Hahahahaha!”

Yup, the south did win. Not the war, but the peace.


30 posted on 06/15/2010 12:23:11 PM PDT by RKBA Democrat (WHO ARE YOU??! WHO ARE YOU??! **hiccup**)
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To: winstonwolf33
Look for one that discusses the "Baltimore Plot." It's the single incident that reveals the character of the man.

ML/NJ

31 posted on 06/15/2010 12:25:00 PM PDT by ml/nj
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To: jessduntno
Oh. I thought you meant the aholes that corrupted a perfectly good Republic and dragged it into a European style democracy.

That came later.

32 posted on 06/15/2010 12:27:36 PM PDT by Genoa (Luke 12:2)
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To: stainlessbanner

“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.


33 posted on 06/15/2010 12:27:55 PM PDT by RKBA Democrat (WHO ARE YOU??! WHO ARE YOU??! **hiccup**)
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To: ml/nj
In all fairness, he hated to sneak into the capital under cloak of darkness, but was talked into it by his security people. Lawless rebel blackguards infested Baltimore and there was real concern. By the way, he did not disguise himself as a Scotsman. That was an urban legend.

34 posted on 06/15/2010 12:31:06 PM PDT by Genoa (Luke 12:2)
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To: arrogantsob

How many people died in Civil war, not worth it in my opinion.


35 posted on 06/15/2010 12:32:22 PM PDT by mel
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To: mel
How many people died in Civil war, not worth it in my opinion.

Everybody, both sides, thought it would be a quick victory, over by June. Way too much naivete, pride, and foolishness, north and south.

36 posted on 06/15/2010 12:35:13 PM PDT by Genoa (Luke 12:2)
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To: mel
How many people died in Civil war, not worth it in my opinion.

What war was worth it? In your opinion.

37 posted on 06/15/2010 12:36:50 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Non-Sequitur

Mexican.


38 posted on 06/15/2010 12:38:13 PM PDT by Genoa (Luke 12:2)
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To: stainlessbanner

Ping!


39 posted on 06/15/2010 12:39:04 PM PDT by Pining_4_TX
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To: Non-Sequitur

“’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.


40 posted on 06/15/2010 12:41:54 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: winstonwolf33
I really liked,The Living Lincoln: The Man and His Times, in His Own Words;Culled from the 9-volume Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, this book assembles the best of Lincoln's writings on himself and the issues of his day, creating in effect an engrossing autobiography of our greatest president. Skillful editing shapes this volume comprised of letters, speeches, and documents into an intimate self-portrait of Lincoln, from his early years in Springfield to the day before he died.
41 posted on 06/15/2010 12:55:37 PM PDT by mdittmar (May God watch over those who serve,and have served,to keep us free (http://teapartypatriots.org)
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To: Genoa

“That came later.”

Ohh...different problem, eh? Like in AZ?
Don’t worry, State’s Rights will just be a memory soon.


42 posted on 06/15/2010 12:56:10 PM PDT by jessduntno (Afghanistan: Lithium is the new oil. Where are the NO WAR FOR LITHIUM protests?)
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To: Fred
With Malice Toward None

Except when he sent his invasionary army down south.

43 posted on 06/15/2010 12:59:53 PM PDT by speciallybland
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To: jessduntno

Ariz. lawmaker takes aim at automatic citizenship

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2535172/posts

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.


44 posted on 06/15/2010 1:08:29 PM PDT by jessduntno (Afghanistan: Lithium is the new oil. Where are the NO WAR FOR LITHIUM protests?)
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To: Tublecane

I read Team of Rivals. Liked it so much, I read it a second time.


45 posted on 06/15/2010 1:08:59 PM PDT by Trust but Verify
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To: speciallybland
Except when he sent his invasionary army down south.

If the South hadn't started the war there wouldn't have been any reason for any 'invasionary army'.

46 posted on 06/15/2010 1:09:49 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Tublecane

“’Team of Rivals’ by Doris Kearns Goodwin”

Not bad if you are a confirmed leftist.


47 posted on 06/15/2010 1:11:38 PM PDT by jessduntno (Afghanistan: Lithium is the new oil. Where are the NO WAR FOR LITHIUM protests?)
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To: speciallybland; Non-Sequitur
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.

48 posted on 06/15/2010 1:15:27 PM PDT by Genoa (Luke 12:2)
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To: Genoa

“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?


49 posted on 06/15/2010 1:17:45 PM PDT by jessduntno (Afghanistan: Lithium is the new oil. Where are the NO WAR FOR LITHIUM protests?)
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To: jessduntno
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.

50 posted on 06/15/2010 1:24:52 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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