Buy One, Get One 50% Off Our Monthly Picks!
Shop Now
Abraham Lincoln: A Life

Abraham Lincoln: A Life

by Michael Burlingame


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Friday, June 3


This award-winning biography has been hailed as the definitive portrait of Lincoln.

Named One of the 5 Best Books of 2009 by The AtlanticNamed One of the 10 Top Lincoln Books by Chicago Tribune Winner, 2008 PROSE Award for Best Book in U.S. History and Biography/Autobiography, Association of American PublishersWinner, 2010 Lincoln Prize from the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College

In the first multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln to be published in decades, Lincoln scholar Michael Burlingame offers a fresh look at the life of one of America's greatest presidents. Incorporating the field notes of earlier biographers, along with decades of research in multiple manuscript archives and long-neglected newspapers, this remarkable work will both alter and reinforce our current understanding of America's sixteenth president.

Volume 1 covers Lincoln's early childhood, his experiences as a farm boy in Indiana and Illinois, his legal training, and the political ambition that led to a term in Congress in the 1840s. In volume 2, Burlingame examines Lincoln's life during his presidency and the Civil War, narrating in fascinating detail the crisis over Fort Sumter and Lincoln's own battles with relentless office seekers, hostile newspaper editors, and incompetent field commanders. Burlingame also offers new interpretations of Lincoln's private life, discussing his marriage to Mary Todd and the untimely deaths of two sons to disease.

In volume 2, Burlingame examines Lincoln's presidency and the trials of the Civil War. He supplies fascinating details on the crisis over Fort Sumter and the relentless office seekers who plagued Lincoln. He introduces readers to the president's battles with hostile newspaper editors and his quarrels with incompetent field commanders. Burlingame also interprets Lincoln's private life, discussing his marriage to Mary Todd, the untimely death of his son Willie to disease in 1862, and his recurrent anguish over the enormous human costs of the war.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421410586
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 04/01/2013
Pages: 1048
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Michael Burlingame is Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. He is the author or editor of several books about Lincoln, including Lincoln Observed: Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks, published by Johns Hopkins, and The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln.

Table of Contents

Volume I.
Author's Note
1. "I Have Seen a Good Deal of the Back Side of This World": Childhood in Kentucky (1809–1816)
2. "I Used to Be a Slave": Boyhood and Adolescence in Indiana (1816–1830)
3. "Separated from His Father, He Studied English Grammar": New Salem (1831–1834)
4. "A Napoleon of Astuteness and Political Finesse": Frontier Legislator (1834–1837)
5. "We Must Fight the Devil with Fire": Slasher-Gaff Politico in Springfield (1837–1841)
6. "It Would Just Kill Me to Marry Mary Todd": Courtship and Marriage (1840–1842)
7. "I Have Got the Preacher by the Balls": Pursuing a Seat in Congress (1843–1847)
8. "A Strong but Judicious Enemy to Slavery": Congressman Lincoln (1847–1849)
9. "I Was Losing Interest in Politics and Went to the Practice of the Law with Greater Earnestness Than Ever Before": Midlife Crisis (1849–1854)
10. "Aroused as He Had Never Been Before": Reentering Politics (1854–1855)
11. "Unite with Us, and Help Us to Triumph": Building the Illinois Republican Party (1855–1857)
12. "A House Divided": Lincoln vs. Douglas (1857–1858)
13. "A David Greater than the Democratic Goliath": The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1858)
14. "That Presidential Grub Gnaws Deep": Pursuing the Republican Nomination (1859–1860)
15. "The Most Available Presidential Candidate for Unadulterated Republicans": The Chicago Convention (May 1860)
16. "I Have Been Elected Mainly on the Cry 'Honest Old Abe' ": The Presidential Campaign (May–November 1860)
17. "I Will Suffer Death Before I Will Consent to Any Concession or Compromise": President-elect in Springfield (1860–1861)
18. "What If I Appoint Cameron, Whose Very Name Stinks in the Nostrils of the People for His Corruption?": Cabinet-Making in Springfield (1860–1861)
Volume II.
19. "The Man Does Not Live Who Is More Devoted to Peace Than I Am, But It May Be Necessary to Put the Foot Down Firmly": From Springfield to Washington (February 11–22, 1861)
20. "I Am Now Going to Be Master": Inauguration (February 23–March 4, 1861)
21. "A Man So Busy Letting Rooms in One End of His House, That He Can't Stop to Put Out the Fire That Is Burning in the Other": Distributing Patronage (March–April 1861)
22. "You Can Have No Conf lict Without Being Yourselves the Aggressors": The Fort Sumter Crisis (March–April 1861)
23. "I Intend to Give Blows": The Hundred Days (April–July 1861)
24. Sitzkrieg: The Phony War (August 1861–January 1862)
25 "This Damned Old House": The Lincoln Family in the Executive Mansion
26. "I Expect to Maintain This Contest Until Successful, or Till I Die, or Am Conquered, or My Term Expires, or Congress or the Country Forsakes Me": From the Slough of Despond to the Gates of Richmond (January–July 1862)
27. "The Hour Comes for Dealing with Slavery": Playing the Last Trump Card (January–July 1862)
28. "Would You Prosecute the War with Elder- Stalk Squirts, Charged with Rose Water?": The Soft War Turns Hard (July–September 1862)
29. "I Am Not a Bold Man, But I Have the Knack of Sticking to My Promises!": The Emancipation Proclamation (September– December 1862)
30. "Go Forward, and Give Us Victories": From the Mud March to Gettysburg (January–July 1863)
31. "The Signs Look Better": Victory at the Polls and in the Field (July–November 1863)
32. "I Hope to Stand Firm Enough to Not Go Backward, and Yet Not Go Forward Fast Enough to Wreck the Country's Cause": Reconstruction and Renomination (November 1863–June 1864)
33. "Hold On with a Bulldog Grip and Chew and Choke as Much as Possible": The Grand Offensive (May–August 1864)
34. "The Wisest Radical of All": Reelection (September–November 1864)
35. "Let the Thing Be Pressed": Victory at Last (November 1864– April 1865)
36. "I Feel a Presentiment That I Shall Not Outlast the Rebellion. When It Is Over, My Work Will Be Done.": The Final Days (April 9–15, 1865)
Note on Sources

What People are Saying About This

"Burlingame has developed a familiarity with the details of Lincoln's life that is truly authoritative, even definitive, and he has genuinely earned his reputation for knowing more about Lincoln than just about anyone who has ever studied him."

Kenneth J. Winkle

Burlingame has developed a familiarity with the details of Lincoln's life that is truly authoritative, even definitive, and he has genuinely earned his reputation for knowing more about Lincoln than just about anyone who has ever studied him.

Kenneth J. Winkle, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Lincoln scholars have waited anxiously for this book for decades. Its triumphant publication proves it was well worth the wait. Few scholars have written with greater insight about the psychology of Lincoln. No one in recent history has uncovered more fresh sources than Michael Burlingame. This profound and masterful portrait will be read and studied for years to come.

Gerald J. Prokopowicz

The remarkable breadth of Burlingame's research has resulted in a book unlike anything else written about Lincoln. It will be a major contribution to the field.

Gerald J. Prokopowicz, East Carolina University

Customer Reviews