A wonderful addition to the study of Abraham Lincoln.
By Steve Inskeep ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 3, 2023
A fresh perspective on one of the most discussed political figures in American history is presented in this book. Author Inskeep, a long-time co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition and author of Imperfect Union and Jacksonland, suggests that Lincoln is seen as a “Christlike” figure in the public eye, but is also highly respected by scholars who tend to attribute any flaws to “politics”. The current state of politics in the US is seen as a low point, with money, power, cynicism and lies being the main focus. Lincoln’s early life is discussed, as well as his interactions with various people which demonstrate his practical and moral choices, as well as his enigmatic character. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln did not deny Douglas’ claim that African Americans were subhuman, but instead argued that this was a distraction from the real issue of slavery. William Seward and his manager Thurlow Weed were defeated in the 1860 Republican convention, but Lincoln was able to win them over. His Cabinet was chosen to please a range of influential Republicans, and when some proved difficult, he managed them in the way a good politician would. His first commander in chief, General George McClellan, had a deep-seated hatred for Lincoln, but his dismissal was still met with disapproval from the Army and civilians alike, although most scholars agree it was the right decision. The book also looks at characters who do not fit the mold, such as Lincoln’s barber, an immigrant from Haiti, and his wife Mary Todd, who seemed to be unaffected by his political skills.
Overall, this book provides a new and interesting look at the life of Abraham Lincoln, and the political decisions he made throughout his career. It examines the various people he encountered, and how he managed to win over those who were initially against him. It also looks at characters who do not fit the traditional mold, and how Lincoln’s political skills affected them.
Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2023
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Penguin Press
Review Posted Online: June 28, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023