Synopses & Reviews
In this brilliant and illuminating portrait of our sixteenth president, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner David Herbert Donald examines the significance of friendship in Abraham Lincoln's life and the role it played in shaping his career and his presidency. Though Lincoln had hundreds of acquaintances and dozens of admirers, he had almost no intimate friends. Behind his mask of affability and endless stream of humorous anecdotes, he maintained an inviolate reserve that only a few were ever able to penetrate.
Professor Donald's remarkable book offers a fresh way of looking at Abraham Lincoln, both as a man who needed friendship and as a leader who understood the importance of friendship in the management of men. Donald penetrates Lincoln's mysterious reserve to offer a new picture of the president's inner life and to explain his unsurpassed political skills.
"[H]ighly readable...." Publishers Weekly
"[I]nsightful....Donald concludes that the president was deprived of the advice and support that might have helped him avoid some of his administration's early missteps." Michael F. Bishop, The Washington Post Book World
"Donald's speculations alternate between being well founded and stretching credulity. On the whole, he provides a useful and enjoyable addition to the store of knowledge about this admired national icon." Jay Freeman, Booklist
"Donald casts a fascinating portrait of Lincoln and his friends and reconsiders much Lincoln lore in this wholly original study....A book of rare clarity, intelligence, and relevance..." Library Journal
"Donald writes about Lincoln with unmatched authority....In short, David Herbert Donald has given us a good book to read. He has also given us a good book to argue with." William Lee Miller, The New York Times Book Review
"It's unlikely that anyone today knows more about Lincoln than David Herbert Donald....We Are Lincoln Men bristles with erudition....This book contains much to entertain a broad popular audience." Chicago Tribune
"[A] short, well-written book..." Seattle Times
"Donald's engaging chapters...are page-turners....Admiring Lincoln's rare political skill and humane defense of justice, Donald empathizes with Lincoln's loneliness and so does the reader. His book brings us closer to the real Lincoln than ever before." Boston Globe
"Here's a man with real intimacy issues: a father who ignored him, a beloved mother who died when he was only 9, and a childhood with no known close friends....We're left finally with an intriguing disconnect: Though Lincoln kept individuals at arm's length, he eagerly embraced a nation in need. 'He was the warm friend of few men,' concluded Illinois Gov. Richard Oglesby, 'but he was the true friend of Mankind.'" Gregory M. Lamb, Christian Science Monitor
(read the entire Christian Science Monitor review
The author of the New York Times bestseller Lincoln and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner continues his look at the 16th president with this brilliant and illuminating portrait of Lincoln's life as seen through the eyes of Lincoln's closest friends. Photos.
About the Author
David Herbert Donald is the author of Lincoln, which won the prestigious Lincoln Prize and was on the New York Times bestseller list for fourteen weeks, and of Lincoln at Home. He has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, for Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War, and for Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe. He is the Charles Warren Professor of American History and of American Civilization Emeritus at Harvard University and resides in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
I "A Strange, Friendless, Uneducated, Penniless Boy": Lincoln's Early Friendships 1
II "He Disclosed His Whole Heart to Me": Lincoln and Joshua F. Speed 29
III "I Could Read His Secrets": Lincoln and William H. Herndon 65
IV "A Close, Warm, and Sincere Friendship": Lincoln and Orville H. Browning 101
V "Beyond the Pale of Human Envy": Lincoln and William H. Seward 140
VI "Abraham Rex": Lincoln and His Private Secretaries 177