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Lincoln

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Lincoln Cover

ISBN13: 9780684825359
ISBN10: 068482535x
Condition: Student Owned
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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Discussion Points
  1. Lincoln was essentially a passive man. He was not formally educated. He repeatedly failed when running for various political offices. He was not considered a handsome man, and he was inexperienced and unprepared for the presidency. Yet all this considered, he still became one of the greatest presidents the United States has ever known. To what do you attribute this? How might the elements of Lincoln's character and his time have blended together to create a man so successful in casting off slavery and bringing the Union back together?

  2. How, in many ways, was Lincoln the most American of presidents?

  3. Donald brilliantly explores the development of Lincoln's character. Describe this development and its impact on the outcome of slavery and the Civil War. What in Lincoln's character led him to greatness?

  4. How did Lincoln's growing belief in a Higher Power sustain him through the agony of a country divided?

  5. In April of 1864, Lincoln wrote to Albert G. Hodges: "I claim not to have controlled events but confess plainly that events have controlled me." How is this accurate and not quite true at the same time?

  6. Though Donald's Lincoln is primarily about Lincoln's political life, Donald portrays Lincoln as a family man. Discuss Lincoln as a father and husband. What portrait emerges of Mary Todd Lincoln? How did she ultimately contribute to his political career, and in what ways might she have detracted from it?

  7. In reading Donald's Lincoln, we view in great detail the political machine of the mid 1800s. How has the political process in this country remained the same? How has it changed? What role did the media play then, as opposed to now?

  8. From the time he was a boy, Lincoln was opposed to slavery. Even so, his policy and position on slavery developed very slowly over time, beginning with a hands-off approach and culminating in his eventual, stated belief that the slaves must be given their freedom. Trace the growth of Lincoln's attitude and actions regarding slavery. Estimate the impact the Emancipation Proclamation had on the people of its day. How is the impact still felt in our times?

  9. Donald's Lincoln forces the reader to confront slavery. We come to understand that racism meant something very different in Lincoln's time, manifesting itself in ways distinct to that era. Discuss the gains we've made over the past one hundred and thirty years.

  10. Lincoln never wavered in his belief that the Union must be preserved. Even in the face of enormous casualties for both the North and the South, Lincoln did not falter in his resolve. Do you believe, as Lincoln did, that it was of the utmost importance to preserve the Union? If so, why? If not, why not?

  11. Although Lincoln lived over a hundred and thirty years ago, and many presidents have come and gone, we are still fascinated by him. Why is he remembered more than any other president? What about him is so enduring and immortal? Why do you think his place in history is so secure?

Recommended Readings

Abraham Lincoln: The War Years

Carl Sandburg

Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, James M. McPherson

The Civil War, Ken Burns (VHS tape)

The Civil War: A Narrative, Shelby Foote

The Civil War: An Illustrated History, Geoffrey C. Ward

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Roy P. Basler, ED.

The Face of Lincoln, James Mellon

The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara

Lincoln: A Novel, Gore Vidal

Lincoln: A Photobiography, Russell Freedman

Mary Todd Lincoln, Her Life and Letters, Justin G. Turner

Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch

The Portable Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Delbanco

The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Tom Bedell, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Tom Bedell)
After trudging through bios of Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce and Buchanan in my Presidential reading project, it would clearly have been a relief to read almost anything about Lincoln. But Donald's "Lincoln" is more than a mere oasis. It's almost compulsively readable, and free of undue analysis, since Donald pretty much tells the story from Lincoln's POV--what he knew and reacted to in his own time.
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rox.castill, November 3, 2006 (view all comments by rox.castill)
This book is actually interesing. Its long, but if you get throught the first chapter you will find yourself not wanting to put it down. David Donald sems to have written the most accurate book of Lincoln that has ever been written. I do recommend it.
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(15 of 29 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780684825359
Author:
Donald, David Herbert
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Location:
New York, NY :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
History & Theory
Subject:
Lincoln, abraham, 1809-1865
Subject:
Government and political science
Subject:
History, theory and practice
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
Presidents & Heads of State
Subject:
Presidents -- United States -- Biography.
Subject:
Lincoln, Abraham
Subject:
Presidents -- United States.
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Subject:
Abraham Lincoln, President, Illinois senator, Illinois lawyer, Civil War, Gettysburg Address, slavery, abolition, thirteenth ammendment, mary todd lincoln, seward, john wilkes booth, ford s theater, killing lincoln, manhunt, team of rivals, greatest presi
Subject:
Abraham Lincoln, President, Illinois senator, Illinois lawyer, Civil War, Gettysburg Address, slavery, abolition, thirteenth ammendment, mary todd lincoln, seward, john wilkes booth, ford s theater, killing lincoln, manhunt, team of rivals, greatest presi
Subject:
Abraham Lincoln, President, Illinois senator, Illinois lawyer, Civil War, Gettysburg Address, slavery, abolition, thirteenth ammendment, mary todd lincoln, seward, john wilkes booth, ford s theater, killing lincoln, manhunt, team of rivals, greatest presi
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st Touchstone ed.
Edition Description:
B102
Series Volume:
105-64
Publication Date:
November 1996
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
720
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.12 in 29.015 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Biography » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » US History » Presidents » Lincoln, Abraham
History and Social Science » US History » US Presidency
History and Social Science » World History » General

Lincoln Used Trade Paper
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$11.00 In Stock
Product details 720 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780684825359 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The phenomenal national bestseller that is "the Lincoln biography for this generation" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.)--now in paperback. Drawing on resources not available until recently--including Lincoln's personal papers, archives, and newspaper reports--two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Herbert Donald presents a masterful account of Lincoln's rise to the presidency and the political and personal challenges he faced while in office.
"Synopsis" by , A masterful work by Pulitzer Prize–winning author David Herbert Donald, Lincoln is a stunning portrait of Abraham Lincoln’s life and presidency.

Donald brilliantly depicts Lincoln’s gradual ascent from humble beginnings in rural Kentucky to the ever-expanding political circles in Illinois, and finally to the presidency of a country divided by civil war. Donald goes beyond biography, illuminating the gradual development of Lincoln’s character, chronicling his tremendous capacity for evolution and growth, thus illustrating what made it possible for a man so inexperienced and so unprepared for the presidency to become a great moral leader. In the most troubled of times, here was a man who led the country out of slavery and preserved a shattered Union—in short, one of the greatest presidents this country has ever seen.

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