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Books recommended for Lincoln enthusiast
11-19-2022, 01:24 AM
Post: #1
Books recommended for Lincoln enthusiast
Not an expert but not a complete novice. What book or books would you recommend to someone who would like to learn more about Lincoln but doesn't want to get overly technical.

My first recommendation would be the biography by Benjamin Thomas as a comprehensive introduction.

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there"
---- Leslie Poles Hartley
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11-19-2022, 05:55 AM
Post: #2
RE: Books recommended for Lincoln enthusiast
I do not have this book, but I think I would recommend Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years: One Volume Edition by Carl Sandburg.
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11-19-2022, 10:06 AM (This post was last modified: 11-19-2022 11:09 AM by Gene C.)
Post: #3
RE: Books recommended for Lincoln enthusiast
I have that one volume book. It's an enjoyable book to read.

One of my favorite books about the Indiana years is "That Nation Might Live" by Jeff Oppenheimer. It's a fictional recreation written from the perspective of Herndon interviewing Sarah Lincoln in preperation of his biography. The info is all true, but the writer presents it as Herndon interviewing Mrs. Lincoln as she tells stories about Abraham, as only a mother could. Well written, and inexpensive.
https://www.amazon.com/That-Nation-Might...184&sr=1-1

Another one I like is "The Story Life of Lincoln by Wayne Whipple.
It's available on Internet Archives, reprints on Amazon. ABE Books and Amazon have original copies from 1908 now more expensive than I when I purchased mine 8 years ago, but these prices fluctuate. It's a collection of about 500 short stories about Lincoln from people who knew him.
https://www.amazon.com/Story-Life-Lincol...276&sr=1-1

Stefan Lorant did a nice "Lincoln A Picture Story of His Life", great collection of pictures. Good used copies very affordable
https://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-picture-s..._sidesheet

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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11-19-2022, 11:38 AM (This post was last modified: 11-19-2022 11:40 AM by Rob Wick.)
Post: #4
RE: Books recommended for Lincoln enthusiast
I agree with both Roger and Gene on Sandburg's single volume. Although it lacks the poetry of the six volumes it is more accurate thanks to the intervention of Harry Pratt and his wife. I also agree with Thomas' book which I still believe to be the best single volume biography.

On a more recent note I think Ronald White's biography is better than David Donald's boook. I don't mean to say that Donald's boook is fatally flawed, but I just prefer Whites book.

It might surprise you that I wouldn't immediately recommend Tarbell's biography. It's not due to any defects in the book, but rather given its age it wouldn't be my first choice just as J.G. Holland's wouldn't be.

The Abraham Lincoln Bookshop publishes a list of the 100 essential books on Lincoln. Most of them are a mix of general biography and specialized topics, but all are generally readable and accessible. I have 97 of their most recent ones.
Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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11-21-2022, 07:57 AM (This post was last modified: 11-21-2022 08:01 AM by Amy L..)
Post: #5
RE: Books recommended for Lincoln enthusiast
As an introductory book on Lincoln, I've heard good things about David Kent's "Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America" (Well-written overview, lots of graphics)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35690291-lincoln

From what I've read, I really enjoyed the content and readability of Sidney Blumenthal's books.
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11-21-2022, 10:46 AM
Post: #6
RE: Books recommended for Lincoln enthusiast
For thorough research on a particular topic in the wide range of Lincoln knowledge, I believe that is nothing better than Professor Michael Burlingame's two volume work Abraham Lincoln: A Life, especially for more obscure topics (exception of Vinnie Ream). You simply use the index to find accurate and substantial material on the information sought.

I cite as the perfect example of important historical detail the subject of the "Dakota 38." The San Francisco School Board (now defunct, as once was composed) made public statements on the night they voted to rename Abraham Lincoln High School. The public comments were in direct contradiction to the email that I forwarded to them from Professor Burlingame on this subject on the day before this important meeting of the San Francisco School Board. Assuming that each one read the email, accurate history regarding President Abraham Lincoln did not matter to them.

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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