5 for Lincoln’s Birthday

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald

Much more than a political biography, Donald’s Lincoln reveals the development of the future President’s character and shows how his private life helped to shape his public career. In Donald’s skillful hands, Lincoln emerges as a youthful, vigorous President. One of the youngest men ever to occupy the White House, he was also the husband of an even younger wife and the father of boisterous children. We witness how Lincoln’s absorption with politics disrupted his family life, and how his often tumultuous marriage affected his political career. And we see a man renowned for his storytelling and his often sidesplitting humor lapse into the periods of deep melancholy to which he was prone, not only during the dark days of the Civil War but throughout his life.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Team of Rivals doesn’t just tell the story of Abraham Lincoln. It is a multiple biography of the entire team of personal and political competitors that he put together to lead the country through its greatest crisis. The author profiles five of the key players in her book, four of whom contended for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination and all of whom later worked together in Lincoln’s cabinet.

Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America by Garry Wills

The power of words has rarely been given a more compelling demonstration than in the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln was asked to memorialize the gruesome battle. Instead he gave the whole nation “a new birth of freedom”–by tracing its first birth to the Declaration of Independence (which called all men equal) rather than to the Constitution (which tolerated slavery). In the space of a mere 272 words, Lincoln brought to bear the rhetoric of the Greek Revival, the categories of Transcendentalism, and the imagery of the “rural cemetery” movement. His entire life and previous training, his deep political experience, went into this, his revolutionary masterpiece.

The Civil War by Ken Burns

The stage is set for war as the nation begins to tear apart. Opposition by the North to slavery in the South fuels a bitter debate, and the country wrestles with conflicts between the Union and States’ rights. Commanding center stage are twering figures– Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. From Harper’s Ferry to Fort Sumter, the first chapters unfold in a conflict from which there would be no turning back.  This nine part documentary brings to life America’s most destructive– and defining–conflict.

Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

The novel reveals the hidden life of the sixteenth U.S. president, who was actually a vampire-hunter obsessed with the complete elimination of the undead, and uncovers the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of the nation.  The book has been made into a motion picture to be released in June 2012.

– posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

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