Lincoln on Lincoln

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University Press of Kentucky, Jan 1, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 198 pages
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Even though Abraham Lincoln has been the subject of numerous biographies, his personality remains an enigma. For the 1860 presidential race he prepared two sketches of his life. These brief campaign portraits provide the core around which Paul Zall weaves extracts from correspondence, speeches, and interviews to produce an in-depth biography.

These descriptions from Lincoln's speeches and correspondence offer a window into his soul and mind. Lincoln's own words reveal an emotional evolution typically submerged in political biographies. They explain, to a degree not previously understood, the great mystery of his life: the process through which he matured from laborer to store clerk to country lawyer to our greatest president. Of the various internal struggles that plagued him throughout this evolution, perhaps the most compelling is his attempt to reconcile his conscience with the rule of the Constitution.

Zall frames lincoln's words with his own illuminating commentary, providing a continuous, compelling narrative. Beginning with Lincoln's thoughts on his parents, the story moves though his youth and early successes and failures in law and politics, and culminates in his clashes and conflicts -internal as well as external -- as president of a divided country.

Abraham Lincoln was not the kind of person to bare his soul in public or in private. "Even between ourselves, " lamented Mary Todd Lincoln, "his expressions were few." Zall allows the sixteenth president to reveal his innermost thoughts, providing a fascinating glimpse of the man.

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Excerpts from Lincoln's autobiographical writings, some quite brief, selected, edited, and annotated by Zall, a senior researcher at the Huntington Library. Zall wants these passages culled from ... Read full review


List of Abbreviations
1 Surviving the Frontier
2 Finding a New Life in New Salem
3 Seeking a Fortune in Springfield
4 Making His Way with Wit and Wisdom
5 Stumping the State and the Nation
6 Preserving Protecting Defending
7 Making Peace All Passion Spent
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