The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics

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Overview

"A great American tale told with a deft historical eye, painstaking analysis, and a supple clarity of writing.”—Jean Baker
“My husband considered you a dear friend,” Mary Todd Lincoln wrote to Frederick Douglass in the weeks after Lincoln’s assassination. The frontier lawyer and the former slave, the cautious politician and the fiery reformer, the President and the most famous black man in America—their lives traced different paths that finally met in the bloody landscape of secession, Civil War, and ...

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The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics

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Overview

"A great American tale told with a deft historical eye, painstaking analysis, and a supple clarity of writing.”—Jean Baker
“My husband considered you a dear friend,” Mary Todd Lincoln wrote to Frederick Douglass in the weeks after Lincoln’s assassination. The frontier lawyer and the former slave, the cautious politician and the fiery reformer, the President and the most famous black man in America—their lives traced different paths that finally met in the bloody landscape of secession, Civil War, and emancipation. Opponents at first, they gradually became allies, each influenced by and attracted to the other. Their three meetings in the White House signaled a profound shift in the direction of the Civil War, and in the fate of the United States. James Oakes has written a masterful narrative history, bringing two iconic figures to life and shedding new light on the central issues of slavery, race, and equality in Civil War America.

Co-winner of the 2008 Lincoln Prize

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393330656
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/21/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 393,284
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

James Oakes is the author of several acclaimed books on slavery and the Civil War. His most recent book, Freedom National, won the Lincoln Prize and was a long-list selection for the National Book Award. He lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    The Radical and the Republican

    While the story of President Lincoln's balancing act between practical and political has been well-documented many times over, the reciprocal transition of Douglass is much less so. Oakes provides an interesting look more deeply into that transition and, uniquely, its comparison with that of the president. As one with a little more than average interest in Lincoln, I found the book well-researched and insightful. As one who believes history is taught in order to enlighten the present, I couldn't help but be drawn to comparisons between Douglass and modern civil rights leaders, some who seem never to be satisfied with small achievements.
    I give The Radical and the Republican a strong recommendation for anyone the subject matter catches the attention of.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A comprehensive and discerning look at these two giants

    Mr Oakes concludes this book with denial of writing a "dual biography." Despite this claim, the insight he provides with investigation of each man's words, Mr Oakes paints two near biographical pictures of each Civil War era players' ethics, morals, and core beliefs.

    While this book reads as quickly as a fictional paperback, the author imparts an immense amount of information. In chronological order, each chapter allows Mr Oakes to posit several questions or theories before using his research and writings of the time to offer his interpretation of how events transpired and advanced, ultimately throwing America into a Civil War.

    Without admonishing either man for slowly evolving to meet the same goal, Mr Oakes responsibly conveys biases, social beliefs, and barriers of the day in a matter-of-fact way.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2009

    A story about two great americans with different ways to reach the same goal.

    Starting from a nearly complete ignorance about Frederick Douglass I was very pleased to follow the story of Lincon and Douglass' as they made their way to the Emancipation Proclamation. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to any who are interested in the subject.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A quick, short look at two 19th century giants

    An interesting look at the public interplay of two uniquely influential nineteenth-century men aiming for similar goals. There is more insight into Mr. Douglass due to the broader palette of his writings and speeches, but the nuanced comparison of both men (addressing their faults and political approaches) makes the work worthwhile.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 5, 2011

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    Posted February 2, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

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