From the Publisher
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. "A grand workthe Lincoln biography for this generation."
Harold Holzer Chicago Tribune "Lincoln immediately takes its place among the best of the genre, and it is unlikely that it will be surpassed in elegance, incisiveness and originality in this century. . . . A book of investigative tenacity, interpretive boldness and almost acrobatic balance."
James M. McPherson The Atlantic Monthly "Eagerly awaited, Lincoln fulfills expectations. Donald writes with lucidity and elegance."
David W. Blight Los Angeles Times "A one-volume study of Lincoln's life that will augment and replace the previous modern standards by Benjamin Thomas (1953) and Stephen Oates (1977). Donald's Lincoln is a scholarly achievement."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pulitzer prize winner Donald's biography was a PW bestseller for 11 weeks. (Nov.)
Winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, most recently for Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe (LJ 12/86), Donald proves himself the superb biographer of Lincoln, though two recent biographies, Michael Burlingame's The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln (LJ 4/1/94) and Merrill Peterson's Lincoln in American Memory (LJ 10/1/94), are both important studies. Donald's profile of the 16th president focuses entirely on Lincoln, seldom straying from the subject. It looks primarily at what Lincoln "knew, when he knew it, and why he made his decisions." Donald's Lincoln emerges as ambitious, often defeated, tormented by his married life, but with a remarkable capacity for growthand the nation's greatest president. What really stands out in a lively narrative are Lincoln's abilities to hold together a nation of vastly diverse regional interests during the turmoil and tragedy of the Civil War. Donald's biography will appeal to all readers and will undoubtedly corral its share of book awards. Highly recommended for all libraries.Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., Ala.
Lincoln immediately takes its place among the best of the genre, and it is unlikely that it will be surpassed in elegance, incisiveness and originality in this century…a book of investigative tenacity, interpretive boldness and almost acrobatic balance.
Jane M. McCherfon
Eagerly awaited, Lincoln fulfills expectations. Donald writes with lucidity and elegance.
The Atlantic Monthly
Read an Excerpt
On the day after the Quincy debate, both Lincoln and Douglas got aboard the City, of Louisiana and sailed down the Mississippi River to Alton, for the final encounter of the campaign. Looking haggard with fatigue, Douglas opened the debate on October 15 in a voice so hoarse that in the early part of the speech he could scarcely be heard. After briefly reviewing the standard arguments over which he and Lincoln had differed since the beginning of the campaign, he made the peculiar decision to devote most of his speech to a detailed defense of his course on Lecompton. He concluded with a rabble-rousing attack on the racial views he attributed to Republicans and an announcement "that the signers of the Declaration of Independence...did not mean negro, nor the savage Indians, nor the Fejee islanders, nor any other barbarous race," when they issued that document.
In his reply Lincoln said he was happy to ignore Douglas's long account of his feud with the Buchanan administration; he felt like the put-upon wife in an old jestbook, who stood by as her husband struggled with a bear, saying, "Go it, husband!-Go it bear!" Once again he went through his standard answers to Douglas's charges against him and the Republican party. Recognizing that at Alton he was addressing "an audience, having strong sympathies southward by relationship, place of birth, and so on," he tried explain why it was so important to keep slavery out of Kansas and other national territories. This was land needed "for an outlet for our surplus., population"; this was land where "white men may find a home"; this was "an outlet for free white people every where, the world over-in which Hans, and Baptiste and Patrick, and all other men from all the world, may find new homes and better conditions in their lives.
And that brought him again to what he perceived as "the real issue in this controversy," which once more he defined as a conflict "on the part of one class that looks upon the institution of slavery as a wrong, and of another class that does not look upon it as a wrong." Rising to the oratorical high point in the entire series of debates, he told the Alton audience: "That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. it is the eternal struggle between these two principlesright and wrongthroughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings."
With a brief rejoinder by Douglas, the debates were ended. After that both candidates made a few more speeches to local rallies, but everybody realized that the campaign was over, and the decision now lay with the voters.
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