A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. I, 1809-1849

A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. I, 1809-1849

by Sidney Blumenthal


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The first in a sweeping, multi-volume history of Abraham Lincoln—from his obscure beginnings to his presidency, death, and the overthrow of his post-Civil War plan of reconciliation—“engaging and informative and...thought-provoking” (The Christian Science Monitor).

From his youth as a voracious newspaper reader, Abraham Lincoln became a free thinker, reading Tom Paine, as well as Shakespeare and the Bible. In the “fascinating” (Booklist, starred review) A Self-Made Man, Sidney Blumenthal reveals how Lincoln’s antislavery thinking began in his childhood in backwoods Kentucky and Indiana. Intensely ambitious, he held political aspirations from his earliest years. Yet he was a socially awkward suitor who had a nervous breakdown over his inability to deal with the opposite sex. His marriage to the upper class Mary Todd was crucial to his social aspirations and his political career. “The Lincoln of Blumenthal’s pen is…a brave progressive facing racist assaults on his religion, ethnicity, and very legitimacy that echo the anti-Obama birther movement….Blumenthal takes the wily pol of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals and goes deeper, finding a Vulcan logic and House of Cards ruthlessness” (The Washingtonian).

Based on prodigious research of Lincoln’s record, and of the period and its main players, Blumenthal’s robust biography reflects both Lincoln’s time and the struggle that consumes our own political debate. This first volume traces Lincoln from his birth in 1809 through his education in the political arts, rise to the Congress, and fall into the wilderness from which he emerged as the man we recognize as Abraham Lincoln. “Splendid…no one can come away from reading A Self-Made Man…without eagerly anticipating the ensuing volumes.” (Washington Monthly).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476777269
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 05/16/2017
Series: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 298,551
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Sidney Blumenthal is the acclaimed author of A Self-Made Man and Wrestling with His Angel, the first two volumes in his five-volume biography, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln. He is the former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. He has been a national staff reporter for The Washington Post and Washington editor and writer for The New Yorker. His books include the bestselling The Clinton Wars, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment, and The Permanent Campaign. Born and raised in Illinois, he lives in Washington, DC.

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A Self-Made Man

Thomas Lincoln

Table of Contents

Timeline of Major Events xiii

Cast of Major Characters xv

Prologue The Slave 1

1 The Reader 21

2 The Age of Reason 53

3 The Slasher 73

4 Paradise Lost 95

5 Old Man Eloquent 131

6 The Springfield Lyceum 155

7 The Rivals 187

8 The Romance 211

9 The Prophet 235

10 The Duelist 263

11 Coup d'État 277

12 Infidels 303

13 Great Expectations 335

14 Ranchero Spotty 347

15 The Hayseed 393

16 The Firm 405

17 The Spoils 421

18 A Hundred Keys 445

Acknowledgments 459

Notes 463

Bibliography 511

Illustration Credits 525

Index 527

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