Jennie: Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln, by David Herbert Donald

Honest Abe probably has about 5,000 or more books written about him which left me more than slightly overwhelmed at which one to pick. I looked to see if any of my author/biographer favorites had written biographies about Lincoln, but no such luck. I reviewed what the other ladies participating in the Presidential Challenge and did a little random research, finally narrowing my choices down to three or so. One day I was at Barnes & Noble completely overwhelmed at all the books I wanted to buy and read but needed to limit myself to just one book, so it ultimately came down to the only one of those three that my local store had on the shelf. I’m satisfied with my selection, however, I will admit that Lincoln is one of the Presidents I want to read more on once I’ve completed the challenge.

This book focused a lot on his life, which I loved because it gave me a new understanding of Lincoln as a person, not just a politician. Although, it did have a drawback – he was out of public office for about 10 years doing his lawyer thing and helping move his political party to new heights from outside. The section of the book that dealt with this time was a little dry, mainly because it included summaries and high level views of the political landscape at the time, plus there wasn’t a lot about his family so it was just page after page of party drama and move making.

Speaking of his life, Lincoln lost two kids – one while living in the White House – and I just felt broken on his behalf while reading this. Thinking of how much support staff and household staff presidents have now that he didn’t have, it must have been so very hard for him to keep being President while lost in that grief, nursing his other son from his sickbed, and dealing with a wife that went into a deep depression. Sometimes it is easy to forget that president’s have families and lives of their own, full of normal drama, teen drama, and homework too.

The portion of the text that covered the assassination was short, almost too short for me, but I knowing that his death wasn’t the focus of this book, I understand why. This is one section of his presidency I want to explore further in the future. I realize how morbid that sounds – I want to read more about his tragic and brutal murder – but oh well, that’s how my brain works. 🙂

I highly recommend this biography for anyone looking for more about Lincoln – but you might want to consider reading it in ebook format if you have that option – at over 700+ pages with all the references it was very hard on the wrists.

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