Everyone wants to define the man who signed his name "A. Lincoln." In his lifetime and ever since, friend and foe have taken it upon themselves to characterize Lincoln according to their own label or libel. In this magnificent book, Ronald C. White, Jr., offers a fresh and compelling definition of Lincoln as a man of integrity-what today's commentators would call "authenticity"-whose moral compass holds the key to understanding his life.
Through meticulous research of the newly completed Lincoln Legal Papers, as well as of recently discovered letters and photographs, White provides a portrait of Lincoln's personal, political, and moral evolution. White shows us Lincoln as a man who would leave a trail of thoughts in his wake, jotting ideas on scraps of paper and filing them in his top hat or the bottom drawer of his desk; a country lawyer who asked questions in order to figure out his own thinking on an issue, as much as to argue the case; a hands-on commander in chief who, as soldiers and sailors watched in amazement, commandeered a boat and ordered an attack on Confederate shore batteries at the tip of the Virginia peninsula; a man who struggled with the immorality of slavery and as president acted publicly and privately to outlaw it forever; and finally, a president involved in a religious odyssey who wrote, for his own eyes only, a profound meditation on "the will of God" in the Civil War that would become the basis of his finest address.
Most enlightening, the Abraham Lincoln who comes into focus in this stellar narrative is a person of intellectual curiosity, comfortable with ambiguity, unafraid to "think anew and act anew."
A transcendent, sweeping, passionatelywritten biography that greatly expands our knowledge and understanding of its subject, "A. Lincoln "will engage a whole new generation of Americans. It is poised to shed a profound light on our greatest president just as America commemorates the bicentennial of his birth.
Praise for A. LINCOLN
"Ronald C. White's "A. Lincoln "is the best biography of Lincoln since David Donald's "Lincoln" (1995). In many respects it is better than Donald's biography, because it has incorporated the scholarship of the past fourteen years and is written in a fluent style that will appeal to a large range of general readers as well as Lincoln aficionados. The special strengths of "A. Lincoln "that lift it above other biographies include a brilliant analysis of Lincoln's principal speeches and writings, which were an important weapon in his political leadership and statesmanship, and on which Ronald C. White is the foremost expert, having written two major books on Lincoln's speeches and writings. Another strength is White's analysis of Lincoln's evolving religious convictions, which shaped the core of his effective leadership, his moral integrity. White's discussion of Lincoln's changing attitudes and policies with respect to slavery and race is also a key aspect of this biography. Amid all the books on Lincoln that will be published during the coming year, this one will stand out as one of the best." --James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Battle Cry of Freedom
"Ron White's "A." "Lincoln" is a superb biography of America's greatest leader. It is fully fleshed, thoughtful, provocative, and scholarly. Lincoln is never out of fashion. After a generation during which threecomprehensive one-volume Lincoln biographies appeared--Benjamin P. Thomas's "Abraham Lincoln: A Biography "in 1952; Stephen B. Oates's "With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln" in 1977; and David Donald's "Lincoln "in 1995--"A. Lincoln: A Biography, "with its rich detail, will be the standard text for years to come. The author includes the religious connections to his subject like no other biographer. This is a remarkable Lincoln biography by an outstanding writer." --Frank J. Williams, Founding Chair of The Lincoln Forum and Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court
"Each generation requires--and seems to inspire--its own masterful one-volume Lincoln biography, and scholar Ronald C. White has crowned the bicentennial year with an instant classic for the 21st century. Wise, scholarly, even-handed, and elegant, the book at once informs and inspires, with a rewarding new emphasis on the complex meaning and timeless importance of Lincoln's great words. Brimming with new anecdotes and informed interpretations, White's superb study brings vivid new life to an American immortal." --Harold Holzer, author of "Lincoln: President-Elect "and co-chairman, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
"A beautifully written, deeply personal story of Lincoln's life and service to his country. Ronald C. White's moving account is particularly strong in its analyses of Lincoln's rhetoric and the process by which the President reached decisions." --Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of" What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848
"Lincoln's bicentennial will bring a flood of books about the sixteenth president. Anyone seeking an expansive, thoroughly engaging biography should turn to Ronald C. White's gracefully written narrative. It does full justice to the complexity and drama of the era and allows readers to understand how Lincoln ultimately triumphed in guiding the nation through its greatest trial." --Gary W. Gallagher, John L. Nau III Professor of History, University of Virginia