Lincolnby Published 05 Nov 1996
Lincoln Ebook Description
Lincoln PDF Book has good rating based on 32660 votes and 541 reviews, some of the reviews are displayed in the box below, read carefully for reference. Find other related book of "Lincoln" in the bottom area.
A masterful work by Pulitzer Prize–winning author David Herbert Donald, Lincoln is a stunning portrait of Abraham Lincoln’s life and presidency.
Donald brilliantly depicts Lincoln’s gradual ascent from humble beginnings in rural Kentucky to the ever-expanding political circles in Illinois, and finally to the presidency of a country divided by civil war. Donald goes beyond biography, illuminating the gradual development of Lincoln’s character, chronicling his tremendous capacity for evolution and growth, thus illustrating what made it possible for a man so inexperienced and so unprepared for the presidency to become a great moral leader. In the most troubled of times, here was a man who led the country out of slavery and preserved a shattered Union—in short, one of the greatest presidents this country has ever seen.
This was a brilliant biography of one of the greatest Presidents in US history. It dispels quite a few myths about Lincoln while diving into his psychological makeup and his complex decision-making process. A deeply involved person, Lincoln assumed total control of the US in 1860 just after the start of the Civil War and faced an enormous amount of challenges. He was far from perfect, but his skills at self-analysis and self-confidence saved both himself and the country. Unfortunately, he was murdered by a Confederate terrorist before he could fully promulgate his ideas on Reconstruction and the black population in the United States still had a massively long and violent road to full Emancipation.
A fantastic read, especially now that the US administration has been a chaotic joke for nearly two years. It was refreshing to read about what a true self-made leader looked like.
Well...it's a historian's biography. Nobody could write a more scrupulous single-volume account of the passage of a 19th-century human being's day. So I learned a lot about Lincoln - but never quite felt I knew Lincoln. It doesn't approach him through anything but his story. I'm not looking for wild leaps, but the best biographers (Caro, obviously) make cautions forays into the mind and character of their subjects that illuminate them. This book, beyond reiterating Lincoln's fondness for his children and tall tales, doesn't really give him...contour, I guess.
So if you want to know the facts, it's ideal; if you want more, keep searching, probably.
I've owned this book for years, and finally read it. It was grand, just unfortnuate for Donald I read this after Caro, so 4-stars and not 5. I'll review more in a few.
David Herbert Donald’s one-volume biography Lincoln gifts the reader with an excellent narrative of the life of Abraham Lincoln. As a non-American, I had superficial knowledge beforehand of how truly extraordinary Lincoln was in such extraordinary times. But after reading this 700-plus-pages book, I can say if it were not for him at that time and place, it’s doubtful that the United Sates would exists as it is today.
For the most part I did not find it a page-turner. The writing is unobtrusive, and the prose is simple and informative – and I often had to force myself to pick it back up, particularly the early chapters which largely concerned local Illinois politics. However, the narrative becomes more interesting once Lincoln enters the Presidential race, or even going back to the Senate campaign and the Douglas-Lincoln debates.
I enjoyed reading about Lincoln and how remarkably complex but absolutely human he was. Donald reveals all his humanity, frailty and awkwardness. He does not spare him. Nevertheless, he comes out as a political genius. He was certainly shrewd in his dealings with his cabinet. Lincoln was above all an astute politician. But he certainly learned with experience:
"Whatever self-assurance Lincoln had gained from the cabinet crisis of December 1862 was sorely tested during the first six months of 1863, for he found that the shrewdness, tact and forbearance that had served him so well in face-to-face disagreements were not easily applied to large groups in conflict. In short, Lincoln still had much to learn about how to be President."
Nevertheless, he was able to achieve his agenda through patience, compromise, and understanding the issues thoroughly. However, he was at the same time impulsive and hesitating, mainly in dealing with people.
Before Lincoln was able to take office, Southern States begin succeeding from the Union one by one and then they formed the Confederate States of America.
“All eyes turned to Springfield, where an inexperienced leader with a limited personal acquaintance among members of his own party grouped his way, on the basis of inadequate information, to formulate a policy for his own administration.”
Lincoln, declaring succession unconstitutional, proclaimed all the laws would be enforced in every state of the Union.
““The right of a State to secede is not an open or debatable question,” he told Nicolay... “It is the duty of a President to execute the laws and maintain the existing Government. He cannot entertain any proposition for dissolution of dismemberment.” Consequently, as he wrote Weed, “No state can, in any way lawfully, get out of the Union, without the consent of the others...” Lincoln’s commitment to maintaining the Union was absolute.”
Despite the fact that the war is not Donald’s subject here, it lasted Lincoln's whole White House years and I learned much about it reading this biography (I'm currently reading and enjoying Shelby Foote's The Civil War Volume II: Fredericksburg to Meridan). One thing was certain, Lincoln would face a great deal of difficulty and trouble and that would come from his own generals. They seemed timid and averse to fighting. Can you imagine something worst in a war? Nevertheless, this would continue until U.S. Grant started his string of victories in the Western front. Indeed, despite criticisms President Lincoln would become General Grant's biggest supporter since he was one of the few that wanted to fight. General George McClellan comes through as the one that most lacked the will to fight and it took Lincoln a while to deal with him. Indeed, the whole time I read about Lincoln’s dealing with McClellan tormented me and I found myself lacking patience.
The Emancipation Proclamation is the one act Lincoln was famous for although he could never imagined himself doing it. However, it was limited to the rebel states, and not the general end of slavery as I believed. Regardless, he hated slavery more than anything:
“If slavery was justified on the ground that masters were white while slaves were black", Lincoln warned, “By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.” If it was defended on the ground that masters were intellectually the superiors of blacks, the same logic applied: “By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.”
He believed Presidents had no legal power to free slaves, that being the legal prerogative of solely the States. However, with the Civil War in full swing, he found that as Commander-in-Chief in a time of war, he had the power that he would not have otherwise. So Lincoln freed the slaves in the Confederacy. Later, the Thirteenth Amendment, endorsed by Lincoln, would end legalized slavery in the entire Union.
He was certainly determined in his vision that he should make everything to make sure the Union remained whole. And without Lincoln's determination and leadership, it would have likely been divided. For sure the war was long and difficult, nonetheless Lincoln and many others did not understand how long and difficult it would be. So we can understand there was significant pressure and a huge temptation to end the war prematurely. In hindsight, it's easy to assume that Lincoln did the right thing by continuing the war until the United States was reunited. At the time, however, he faced many critics that complained much. But Lincoln never capitulated. And we can't imagine how difficult it must have been for him to spend so many lives and endless resources to continue the war.
To conclude, the book ends abruptly with Lincoln’s assassination, I would have liked to read about its aftermath, I would have appreciated a last chapter to answer: What were the different reactions to the news of his death? How did his death influence the reconstruction plans he had for the country? Nevertheless, an excellent read and highly recommended.
Excellent, outstanding book!! The man, the Presidency, the legend. His life was cut far too short by a cowardly act. Would that the US have learned it's lesson from this tragedy but alas we have not. What does this say about us as a nation? My heart grieves for all those senselessly lost.