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Well written and interesting even after being written over 100 years ago. This is a Lincoln biography classic, with most of the attention focused on Lincoln's pre-war years. Herndon had someone help him with writing the book, Jesse Weik.

Herndon, as Lincoln's law partner for 16 years had known Lincoln even when Herndon was a youngster. Herndon believed because of this, he had a special insight into Lincoln's personality and had a better understanding of his characteristics and thoughts than anyone else.

According to Wikipedia "Following Lincoln's assassination, Herndon began to collect stories of Lincoln's life from those who knew him. Herndon aspired to write a faithful portrait of his friend and law partner, based on his own observations and on hundreds of letters and interviews he had compiled for the purpose. He was determined to present Lincoln as a man, rather than a saint, and to reveal things that the prevailing Victorian era conventions said should be left out of the biography of a great national hero"

Herndon is well known as a key source for portraying Lincoln's father in a negative light, calling him roving, shiftless. Also for relating the still questionable relationship with Ann Rutledge. He also describes Mary Lincoln in a mostly negative way. Many other biography's of Lincoln have followed his lead.

Regarding Lincoln's assassination, he has a few facts wrong
- He (Booth) had cut off his mustache and cropped his hair close to his head, and he and Harold both wore the Confederate gray uniform.
- Five of the conspirators were tried, and three, Payne, Harold, and Mrs. Surratt were hanged.

I would consider this a "must have" for a serious Lincoln Library. He touched on and wrote about aspects of Lincoln's life that many biographers of Lincoln didn't know, never tried to find out, or didn't want to write about. Herndon was also very opinionated (right or wrong) about the intimate and personal thoughts of Lincoln. Good companion books are Lincoln's Herndon and Herndon's Informants.

It is not an inexpensive book, but with a bit of patience you can find a good used copy at a reasonable price (under $20). I found mine a year and a half ago in very good condition for $1.95
https://www.amazon.com/Herndons-Lincoln-...7s+herndon
Just as an addenda to Gene's review, I would recommend that anyone interested in reading this consider buying the Knox College Lincoln Studies Center version, which is available at a reasonable price. What makes this better than the original, or any other version published before, is that Wilson and Davis provide a very helpful introduction as well as footnotes throughout that help to explain where Herndon and Weik were wrong, or right, as the case may be.

Best
Rob
Thanks Gene for the review-and Rob for the recommendation.
(02-11-2017 12:00 PM)Rob Wick Wrote: [ -> ]Just as an addenda to Gene's review, I would recommend that anyone interested in reading this consider buying the Knox College Lincoln Studies Center version, which is available at a reasonable price. What makes this better than the original, or any other version published before, is that Wilson and Davis provide a very helpful introduction as well as footnotes throughout that help to explain where Herndon and Weik were wrong, or right, as the case may be.

Best
Rob

Rob, thank you so much for the recommendation! I was just thinking about getting a copy and wondered if there would be anything to it that wasn't in Herndon's Informants. This makes it so much easier to hit "order" :-)
If you (pl.) had to decide between either "Herndon's Lincoln" or "Herndon's Informants", which would you prefer?
(02-13-2017 05:51 PM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote: [ -> ]If you (pl.) had to decide between either "Herndon's Lincoln" or "Herndon's Informants", which would you prefer?

Personally, Eva, I would prefer Herndon's Informants, simply because it would allow me to read what Herndon had collected and make my own conclusions, but then again, that's just me.

Quote:Rob, thank you so much for the recommendation! I was just thinking about getting a copy and wondered if there would be anything to it that wasn't in Herndon's Informants. This makes it so much easier to hit "order" :-)

Angela, in my experience, most people who read a book rarely read it critically. In other words, they don't read asking "is this right?" or "how did the author come to this conclusion?" Herndon's biography is no different. I'm sure there are things in Herndon's Lincoln that didn't appear in Informants and vice versa. But I think if one was to read Informants first, then the biography, it would allow for a more critical examination of what Herndon wrote. Wilson and Davis did the heavy work for the reader in this edition, and given that they were also responsible for Informants, I would trust their critical eyes over many others. Especially since neither seem to be infected with the dreaded "anti-Herndon bias virus."

Best
Rob
(02-13-2017 06:56 PM)Rob Wick Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-13-2017 05:51 PM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote: [ -> ]If you (pl.) had to decide between either "Herndon's Lincoln" or "Herndon's Informants", which would you prefer?

Personally, Eva, I would prefer Herndon's Informants, simply because it would allow me to read what Herndon had collected and make my own conclusions, but then again, that's just me.
Same here, Rob - thanks for your opinion.
(02-13-2017 06:56 PM)Rob Wick Wrote: [ -> ]Angela, in my experience, most people who read a book rarely read it critically. In other words, they don't read asking "is this right?" or "how did the author come to this conclusion?" Herndon's biography is no different. I'm sure there are things in Herndon's Lincoln that didn't appear in Informants and vice versa. But I think if one was to read Informants first, then the biography, it would allow for a more critical examination of what Herndon wrote. Wilson and Davis did the heavy work for the reader in this edition, and given that they were also responsible for Informants, I would trust their critical eyes over many others. Especially since neither seem to be infected with the dreaded "anti-Herndon bias virus."

Best
Rob

Rob, I could not agree more!When reading Herndon's Informants, I came across a lot of popular stories, embedded in longer notes from the people who told them. By reading those, some, to me, became more credible, others I thought of as not so much because the additional information they offered was wrong at times. But it is always great to have some experts who can put this or that fact into perspective. Looking forward to the book!
As soon as Lincoln's White House is finished :-)
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