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Lincoln's Herndon by David Herbert Donald
08-05-2014, 06:34 PM (This post was last modified: 08-05-2014 06:48 PM by Eva Elisabeth.)
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RE: Lincoln's Herndon by David Herbert Donald
(06-24-2014 09:42 AM)Gene C Wrote:  Has the book stood the test of time?
For all the following goes: IMO.
Yes, Gene, it absolutely has, regarding the content as well as the style. You would never believe you were reading an old book - rather that it was the latest publication!!!
I 100% agree on a review on the cover reading: "A superb job...scholarly without ever being dull, critical, but not pedantic, as brilliant in analysis as it is colorful in narrative...This is biography at its best."

One little remark: Like in "We are Lincoln Men", there are some "minutia of pre-Civil War politics" in this one, but even if you only skim this part, the rest is fascinating.

E.g. D. Donald, corroborated by excellent footnotes, profoundly analyzed the way Herndon "found", grew and embellished such as the Rutledge legend, or A. L.'s illegitimacy or "family situation", and what made him (Herndon) do this. Donald also points out where Herndon did not embellish but was very reliable.

Despite this Donald uncovers and portraits Herndon as a fascinating specimen - stubborn and peculiar on the one hand, a widely read intellectual and most generous, helpful human being on the other hand, a dreamer, who - partly due to his strubborness, but to a great deal undeservedly due to very bad luck - failed in almost all his endeavors to an extent that one can feel nothing but sorry and pity for him, especially as for the poverty he had to face. E.g. as a farmer (which he was forced to be because of lacking cases in his law practice) "his fruit trees died, his potatoes were eaten by beetles, his cows were mutilated by a vicious dog, his mule was killed, his hogs had the cholera". Somehow he was a Don Q..
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RE: Lincoln's Herndon by David Herbert Donald - Eva Elisabeth - 08-05-2014 06:34 PM

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