A “brilliant” look at America’s sixteenth president by the New York Times–bestselling, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Lincoln (American Historical Review).
First published in 1956 and revised and updated for the twenty-first century, Lincoln Reconsidered is a masterpiece of Civil War scholarship. In a dozen eloquent, witty, and incisive essays, the author of the definitive biography of Abraham Lincoln offers a fresh perspective on topics previously shrouded in myth and hagiography and brings the president’s tough-mindedness, strategic acumen, and political flexibility into sharp focus.
From Lincoln’s patchwork education to his contradictory interpretations of the Constitution and the legacy of the Founding Fathers, David Herbert Donald reveals the legal mind behind the legend of the Great Emancipator. “Toward a Reconsideration of the Abolitionists” sheds new light on the radicalism of the antislavery movement, while “Herndon and Mary Lincoln” brilliantly characterizes the complicated relationship between two of the president’s closest companions. “Getting Right with Lincoln” and “The Folklore Lincoln” draw on the methods of cultural anthropology to produce a provocative analysis of Lincoln as symbol.
No historian has done more to enhance our understanding of Lincoln’s presidency and the causes and effects of the Civil War than Donald. Lincoln Reconsidered is an entertaining and accessible introduction to his work and a must-read for every student of American history.
“A common sense, witty, and erudite analysis.” —The Atlantic
“Written with style and wit, emanating from great learning, [Lincoln Reconsidered] is as refreshing as an opened window in a stuffy room.” —The New York Times
“A book of elegant essays . . . in which [Donald] stressed his subject’s tough-mindedness and tactical skills.” —Geoffrey C. Ward, The New York Times Book Review
“Brilliant . . . deserve[s] to be pondered by all scholars in the field.” —American Historical Review
Praise for David Herbert Donald
“Mr. Donald is a rarity among American historical biographers, being not merely a man of irreproachable scholarship and balance but an interesting writer.” —The New Yorker
“Donald writes with lucidity and elegance.” —James M. McPherson
“Lincoln immediately takes its place among the best of the genre, and it is unlikely that it will be surpassed in elegance, incisiveness and originality. . . . A book of tenacity, interpretive boldness and almost acrobatic balance.” —Harold Holzer, Chicago Tribune David Herbert Donald (1920–2009) was an American historian and the author of many books on the Civil War era, including Lincoln (1995), a New York Times bestseller widely regarded as the definitive biography of the US president. Donald twice won the Pulitzer Prize, for Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War (1960) and Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe (1987), and served as the Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard University. His other notable works include the influential essay collection Lincoln Reconsidered (1956); Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man (1970), the second volume in his acclaimed biography of the antislavery statesman; and Liberty and Union (1978), a comprehensive analysis of the American scene from 1845 to 1890.
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