Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

by James M. McPherson

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Marking the two-hundredth anniversary of Lincoln's birth, this marvelous short biography by a leading historian offers an illuminating portrait of one of the giants in the American story. It is the best concise introduction to Lincoln in print, a must-have volume for anyone interested in American history or in our greatest president. Best-selling author James M. McPherson follows the son of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks from his early years in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, to his highly successful law career, his marriage to Mary Todd, and his one term in Congress. We witness his leadership of the Republican anti-slavery movement, his famous debates with Stephen A. Douglas (a long acquaintance and former rival for the hand of Mary Todd), and his emergence as a candidate for president in 1860. Following Lincoln's election to the presidency, McPherson describes his masterful role as Commander in Chief during the Civil War, the writing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and his assassination by John Wilkes Booth. The book also discusses his lasting legacy and why he remains a quintessential American hero two hundred years after his birth, while an annotated bibliography permits easy access to further scholarship. With his ideal short account of Lincoln, McPherson provides a compelling biography of a man of humble origins who preserved our nation during its greatest catastrophe and ended the scourge of slavery.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199743896
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 02/01/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 692,902
File size: 398 KB

About the Author

James M. McPherson is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. He has published numerous volumes on the Civil War, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom, Crossroads of Freedom (which was a New York Times bestseller), Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, and For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, which won the Lincoln Prize.


Princeton, New Jersey

Date of Birth:

October 11, 1936

Place of Birth:

Valley City, North Dakota


B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN) 1958; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1963

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Abraham Lincoln 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
curiousMO More than 1 year ago
Good book for a short but sweet life of Lincoln. Touched on major points of this life. I would like to read some of the other books Mr. McPherson recommended at the back of this book.
Wilfong More than 1 year ago
A no frills biography of Lincoln. I'm starting to read several books about the civil war. My knowledge of Lincoln is limited and I wanted to get up to speed with out having to read several hundred pages. This was a quick read and gave me the information I was looking for birth to death. I would recommend this to a friend.
Lucilletln More than 1 year ago
Bought this book as a gift for a birthday gift. As she was interested in starting to read about Lincoln. Great first bio of our 16th president as all the information is there in a very short form thus not overwhelming the first time Lincoln reader. Prof. McPherson's research is impeccable and even in this much written about subject he found a way to keep it interesting and flowing in an extremely concise way. Enjoyed the book very much and made great gift.
history-buff More than 1 year ago
With the flood of Lincoln books on the market with the bicentennial, it is easy to get swept up in the majesty of long, hefty tomes of our 16th president. Yet James McPherson's ABRAHAM LINCOLN delivers all the inspiration, balanced facts, and extraordinary parts of Abraham Lincoln's life, from Kentucky to Springfield to Washington.

The slim volume is a bit discouraging on the face, for how could one possibly squeeze all the vibrant facts, paradoxes, and trials of our greatest president's life into sixty-seven pages. But Mr. McPherson brilliantly navigates Lincoln's life, providing sobering, interesting, and moving bits and pieces of this man's life.

Though McPherson rehashes all the interesting tid-bits of Lincoln's adolescent years, the author shines with the descriptions of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the intricacies of the election of 1860, the long days of the civil war, and Lincoln's personal views on slavery and race.

Though I am a great admirer of Donald's LINCOLN and White's A. LINCOLN, it would do all Americans good (history buffs and casual readers alike) to digest Lincoln's life in a highly readable, enthralling, and engaging narrative. Sometimes, in our exhaustive efforts to understand this elusive man, we become bogged down in petty details and minor historical quibbles. McPherson brings Lincoln back to where he belongs- accessible to all readers, understood both for his triumphs and his faults, and an inspiration for modern-day executives and citizens alike.
jasonlf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Basically a long magazine article, perfectly fine but not much to it.
LarrySouders on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This I would highly recommend to anyone who would like to know a lot about Lincoln and not have to read a lot. This short biography by McPherson does this and does it well.
nancyewhite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A concise (65 pages), readable and well-written biography of Lincoln. It hits the highlights of his life, presidency and legacy. If, like me, you realize you should read a more detailed exploration of Lincoln's life one of these days, this will refresh your memory and make you feel a little more literate about President Lincoln in the meantime.
Unkletom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Many noted authors have written countless volumes about the life and times of Abraham Lincoln. When I read that Civil War historian James McPherson had attempted, in only 65 pages, to capture the essence of the man who shepherded our nation through its greatest trials I was curious to see how well he could do. I had my doubts at the first. When the first sentence starts out with "Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809..." I started to worry that there would be no more substance than a high school term paper. Fortunately, McPherson soon soothed my misgivings. After a somewhat dry synopsis of Lincoln's early life, McPherson briefly and with great insight touches on each and every key facet of Lincoln's career. He addressed the debates with Stephen Douglas, Lincoln's election and subsequent efforts to prevent secession, his role in the war, his relationship with his cabinet, his personal and official views on slavery and emancipation, and his attempts to negotiate a peace with the Confederacy. In every chapter, McPherson's admiration for our sixteenth president shines through, even when discussing Lincoln's questionable suspension of habeas corpus. I found this part especially interesting in light of recent events. The Bush administration used the same arguments that Lincoln put forth to justify its suspension of civil liberties. One could argue that, justifiably or not, Lincoln opened a Pandora's Box that subsequent less-scrupulous presidents have taken advantage of. I have read a great deal about this period in history and yet, on a page-for-page basis, there are few books that can shed as much insight into the heart and mind of our greatest president. I highly recommend this book.
Mahdi1ray More than 1 year ago
This is a well written and well researched biography. It holds the reader's attention in a compelling manner. Easy to read. A must for historians and political scientists. Of general interest to the public
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romantic-cowboy More than 1 year ago
MacPherson shows why he ia recognized as one of our leading historians. This is an excellent short bio of Abraham Lincoln.
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