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Honor's Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincolnby Douglas L. Wilson
Synopses & Reviews
Abraham Lincoln's remarkable emergence from the rural Midwest and his rise to the presidency have been the stuff of romance and legend. But as Douglas L. Wilson shows us in Honor's Voice, Lincoln's transformation was not one long triumphal march, but a process that was more than once seriously derailed. There were times, in his journey from storekeeper and mill operator to lawyer and member of the Illinois state legislature, when Lincoln lost his nerve and self-confidence - on at least two occasions he became so despondent as to appear suicidal - and when his acute emotional vulnerabilities were exposed.
Focusing on the crucial years between 1831 and 1842, Wilson's skillful analysis of the testimonies and writings of Lincoln's contemporaries reveals the individual behind the legends. We see Lincoln as a boy: not the dutiful son studying by firelight, but the stubborn rebel determined to make something of himself. We see him as a young man: not the ascendant statesman, but the canny local politician who was renowned for his talents in wrestling and storytelling (as well as for his extensive store of off-color jokes). Wilson also reconstructs Lincoln's frequently anguished personal life: his religious skepticism, recurrent bouts of depression, and difficult relationships with women - from Ann Rutledge to Mary Owens to Mary Todd.
Meticulously researched and well written, this is a fascinating book that makes us reexamine our ideas about one of the icons of American history.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Not a comprehensive biography, this book will nevertheless be warmly welcomed by Lincoln scholars and enthusiasts." Library Journal
"Many authors have written trilogies, but Douglas L. Wilson may be the first to publish all three volumes within a few months of each other. Although there is some overlap, they fit together like the tiles of a mosaic to provide a fuller portrait than previously existed of Abraham Lincoln during his formative years in New Salem and Springfield....Honor's Voice contains many revealing nuggets of information. It offers new insights on Lincoln's famous wrestling match with Jack Armstrong in 1831...Lincoln's awkward relations with women...[and] youthful Lincoln's fondness for the free-thinking doctrines of Thomas Paine and his skepticisim about many tenets of the Christian faith." New York Review of Books
"Focusing on the period between 1831 and 1842, documents some of the troubles Lincoln had on his way, romanticized now by American school books, from being midwestern storekeeper and mill operator to a lawyer and member of the state legislature. Finds that he often lost his nerve and self-confidence, at least twice became so despondent as to appear suicidal, was a rebellious rather than dutiful child, and became a wily politician known for wrestling and storytelling." Booknews
"An absorbing and first-rate contribution to Lincoln studies." Kirkus Reviews
Tracing Lincoln's early development from an insecure country boy full of ambition, to storekeeper, riverboat man, and then politician Wilson sleuths out truths about Lincoln that have long lain unexposed. This program reveals a more human Lincoln than we've known.
About the Author
Douglas L. Wilson is Saunders Director of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Biography » Historical