Monday, February 9, 2009

Reading Lincoln

On Friday I finished David Herbert Donald's biography, "Lincoln". I found it to be a terrific book.

I found Dr. Donald's description of Lincoln's Presidency to be the most fascinating section of the book. The way in which Lincoln navigated between the many divergent Northern political groups (the "Radical" and "Conservative" Republicans, the "War" Democrats, etc.) was incredibly interesting.

It was interesting to read that many people in these groups considered themselves to be Lincoln's enemies...there were a number of people that said that the Civil War was a "failure" and attacked Lincoln for going too slow/or too fast in regards to emancipation...and for being too lenient/too hard in the area of reconstruction.

In last Sunday's New York Times, William Safire reviewed a number of books published recently about Lincoln. His review can be found here.

In his review he has some very good things to say about Dr. Donald's biography. He writes, "no one-volume life published so far beats David Herbert Donald’s perceptive and lucid work (still selling in trade paperback)."

Mr. Safire also noted that a two volume, 2,000 page, million-word biography of Lincoln by Michael Burlingame called "Lincoln: A Life" will be posted online in the spring. Here's the link: I can't wait to see that.

I'm sure we'll hear more this week about books and resources on Lincoln as we approach his 2o0th birthday on Thursday the 12th. I'm looking forward to that.


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