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Abraham Lincoln: A Life

af Michael Burlingame

Serier: Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Volumes 1-2)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1055199,205 (4.4)9
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 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. But through it all -- his difficult childhood, his contentious political career, a fratricidal war, and tragic personal losses-- Lincoln preserved a keen sense of humor and acquired a psychological maturity that proved to be the North's most valuable asset in winning the Civil War.… (mere)
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Viser 5 af 5
Abraham Lincoln has not wanted for biographers since his death, and every year new volumes about his life and presidency are added to shelves already groaning with them. Yet as Michael Burlingame notes at the start of this magnificent book, multi-volume studies of Lincoln’s life have been scarce of late, with the most recent one published decades ago. His biography is an effort to fill this gap by providing a comprehensive interpretation of Lincoln’s life, one that draws upon the enormous body of material accumulated about our 16th president to provide a deeper understanding of who he was and how he shaped our nation’s history.

The result is a breathtakingly thorough account of Lincoln’s life. In two volumes Burlingame traces Lincoln’s life from his early years on the Indiana and Illinois frontier to his tragic death on the eve of the Union’s victory over the Confederacy. Throughout his focus is resolutely on Lincoln, showing how he developed as a person and how that person sought to address the myriad challenges he faced throughout his life. In the process he draws out some fascinating insights, ones that reveal Lincoln as a man of principle and ambition, whose evolution into the “Great Emancipator” only came after a substantial career in the politics and the law.

Yet Burlingame also shows how despite considerable success as a Whig representative in the Illinois state legislature and a term in Congress, Lincoln was continually underestimated by many of his contemporaries, who dismissed him as a pleasant fellow who was not up to the challenges of the nation’s highest office. Such assessments ignored (and often enabled) Lincoln’s mastery of the political game, and Burlingame almost relishes recounting how he bested his opponents time and again. Where that mastery is best displayed, however, is on the issue of slavery, as Lincoln demonstrated throughout his career an ability to push his constituents to the limits in their opposition to the “peculiar institution” – and sometimes beyond them as well.

By the end of this book Burlingame leaves his readers with a profound appreciation of who Lincoln was as a person and how his personality shaped our nation’s history. Even those already familiar with Lincoln’s life will learn much from its pages, as Burlingame offers a perspective of his subject gained from a career spent studying the man. Nobody who wishes to understand in depth our nation’s 16th president can afford to ignore this book, which is unlikely to be surpassed soon for its breath of research and the depths of its analysis. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
Michael Burlingame’s masterful two-volume work is inspirational as to the work involved by the author and insight it provides into the life of Abraham Lincoln. It is not always an easy read owing to the amount of detail provided and different accounts of events that serve to validate and give credibility to the author’s work. Burlingame’s work is more akin to that of a sculptor revealing that which is contained in the stone. Unlike other books that portray Lincoln one way or another, this work reveals Lincoln, showing his remarkable growth from his roots in poverty to his ultimate achievements as president. For this reason, at times, one is made to think about Lincoln a bit differently from what may be preexisting notions, producing a sense of apprehension only calmed as the events that follow continue their revealing of what Lincoln ultimately becomes. While these volumes are sufficiently large as to give the impression of completeness I frequently encountered areas of interest that spurred side excursions of internet searches resulting in a much longer overall read. In that regard, Burlingame’s notes are so vast the author elected to create abbreviated notes included at the end of each volume and to refer readers to an internet site at Knox College Lincoln Studies where the full text of the books and full note references are included. ( )
  danatdtms | Dec 15, 2018 |
This huge book is the best current compendium of facts about Lincoln's life as a whole. Some of Burlingame's speculations are questionable, such as that Mary Todd convinced Lincoln that marriage was necessary because of their physical intimacy, but the speculations are identified as such.
  dh1515 | May 23, 2010 |
Excellent biography of Lincoln. Many details which can induce drowsiness at times but can also give great insight and clarification to perceptions of Lincoln. This book takes time to read if you intend to remember bits of it. It definitely satisfies my need for scholarly reading.
Found a factual error in the latter part of the book. This was something that would have been easily confirmed. ( )
  BAP1012 | May 21, 2010 |
First, I should note that I have read only the first 450 pages of this massive volume (about 1500 reading pages).
This book is a masterwork of collecting every single scrap of the historical record on Lincoln. Amazingly, Burlingame finds even *new* information about Lincoln. He obviously combed every early Illinois newspaper he could lay his hands on in order to discover any possible undiscovered Lincoln writings (which were often written anonymously). In the future, any Lincoln historian will need to reference this work.
That said, I found the writing to be more encyclopedic than entertaining. Lincoln's life can be fascinating, especially when written by inspired authors. This book was just a bit too dry for my taste. For the moment, I am putting it away, and will pick it up at a later date. I still want to read it, but I thought I'd read something else for awhile. ( )
  estamm | Sep 5, 2009 |
Viser 5 af 5
This book supplants Sandburg and supersedes all other biographies. Future Lincoln books cannot be written without it, and from no other book can a general reader learn so much about Abraham Lincoln. It is the essential title for the bicentennial.
tilføjet af Shortride | RedigerPublishers Weekly, James L. Swanson
 

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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 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. But through it all -- his difficult childhood, his contentious political career, a fratricidal war, and tragic personal losses-- Lincoln preserved a keen sense of humor and acquired a psychological maturity that proved to be the North's most valuable asset in winning the Civil War.

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