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Summary

In the first multivolume biography of Abraham Lincoln to be published in decades, Lincoln scholar Michael Burlingame offers a fresh look at the life of one of America's greatest presidents. Incorporating the field notes of earlier biographers along with decades of research in multiple manuscript archives and long-neglected newspapers, this remarkable work will both alter and reinforce our current understanding of America's 16th president.

In volume 2, Burlingame examines Lincoln's presidency and the trials of the Civil War. He supplies fascinating details on the crisis over Fort Sumter and the relentless office seekers who plagued Lincoln. He introduces listeners to the president's battles with hostile newspaper editors and his quarrels with incompetent field commanders. Burlingame also interprets Lincoln's private life, discussing his marriage to Mary Todd, the untimely death of his son, Willie, to disease in 1862, and his recurrent anguish over the enormous human costs of the war.

©2016 Michael Burligame (P)2016 Gildan Media LLC

Critic reviews

"A magisterial enterprise." (William Safire, New York Times)

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  • Jason
  • NEWARK, United Kingdom
  • 23-09-16

Inspirational

Michael Burlingames autobiography of Abraham Lincoln is surely the best and most painstaking account of the world's foremost stateman. It is long, very long but never dull and utterly brilliant.
A fitting tribute to the genius of its subject.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Sloppy Narration so won't buy the other volume

Mispronunciations of some proper names, e.g NabuSco for Nabucco. Diction sometimes obscures meaning. Book itself as reviewed by Amazon reviewers. I regret using a credit to buy this.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • G. Green
  • 03-03-16

A Magnificent and Important Book

This two-volume work is long. However, the investment of time and thought required to read it is well worthwhile. Burlingame's comprehensive biography draws on a remarkable quantity of contemporaneous documents; letters, diaries, newspapers and many other sources. The effect is to leave the reader with a clear sense of the evolving political, social, economic and cultural context in which Lincoln's life and work unfolded. Most important, this biography reveals the profound significance of Abraham Lincoln to our country and the world. I recommend it highly.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • C Chuma
  • 01-11-16

Truly one of the greatest beings ever

A great account of one of the greatest human beings ever. Brings out his best character, his faults and his selfless leadership at its best.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel Shenk
  • 06-08-18

The most comprehensive Lincoln biography ever

This is a review for volumes 1 and 2. This book is not for the casual listener. It is very long and sometimes repetitive (because Burlingame cites never before used sources that often say the same thing), but extremely thorough. No other book will give you as much knowledge about Lincoln and his life.

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  • Jon A
  • 05-04-18

In A Word: Thorough

Any additional comments?

(Disclaimer: I have not listened to Volume I). This is an excellent, IN DEPTH, expoloration of Lincoln's Presidency and his troubled, turbulent Times. As my one word summary suggests, this book is extremely thorough, at times a bit too much, but having guessed that this would be the case beforehand, I am still very satisfied with the outcome.

As a bonus, the reading performance is also excellent, and Mr. Pratt does a good job of keeping his voice acting consistent, believeable and entertaining.

In particular, I have been looking for a single source that delivers as much of Lincoln's actual words, written and spoken, as possible, and here, this book certainly delivers. I have learned many new and interesting tidbits, anecdotes and jokes emanating from our rather opaque but incredibly deep and gifted 16th President that I had not come across in other sources. This alone makes the book a worthy purchase, in my humble opinion.

As for those reviewers complaining of how detailed this volume is- when clocking in at almost 49 hours of material, I have just one question: what did you expect?

Of course, some information could perhaps be trimmed just a bit (for example, with each new public utterance from the president, the author seems determined to find every single public and private response they can dig up, which often takes up a lot of time (but which can also be easily skipped over once the reader gets the jist).

Additionally, the author often quotes newspaper editorials without giving any indication as to what partisan leanings that source had a reputation for in the past, which might have better informed the listener as to any background bias (for example, Abolitionist, Copperhead-supporting, etc.) and thus let the reader add or detract weight to the praise or condemnation being offered.

Overall, however, this is an excellent, detailed historical narration of Lincon as our nation's leader from his train journey into DC until well after his tragic death, and all the supporting cast and activities which made this period one of the most interesting and important in our American story.

Thank you for your scholarship, Mr. Burlingame.

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  • Adam
  • 01-12-17

Excellent

Really fantastically put together. Although not strictly chronological, these volumes do well in balancing the story of Lincolns life and the massive issues surrounding him. I highly recommend these to anyone and everyone who has a slight interest in the history of Lincoln or America.

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  • Al H
  • 11-05-17

A masterpiece

After reading books on Abraham Lincoln for close to 45 years, you wonder what can this book tell me? The simple answer is very much.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that the one thing that impacted this country more than any other event in our history was the assassination of Lincoln. This book (vol 1 and 2) simply confirms that view.

What is interesting are the examples of how so many of Lincolns contemporaries held him him in the same regard then, during his presidency as we do now. He was a leader that seemed to be destined to be in just that spot at that time. Within this biography you will find quotes you have not heard, have several episodes of pausing and thinking "huh, did not realize that". It is truly "The" autobiography of Lincoln. A new standard.

Sean Pratt does an excellent job with this book. There are a couple of names I think he may have pronounced wrong, but who knows. Also initially I thought his voice sounded a bit light for such a book. I mean that in thinking this book deserved a deeper, historian type of voice. ( more gravitas if you will) I will admit I was incorrect. Trust me when I say this is performed very well and he either knows something about Lincoln ( well prior to this) or did his homework. The tone and emphasis of certain words or ironic situations are always right on the mark. His accents and characters are excellent. I often found myself turning it on to catch a few more lines. Great job.

It is a long book, sometimes there are too many examples to emphasize a point. There are spots you think "alright I get it" move on. However they are few and are so minor but I thought that could have been avoided. This is well worth the time and effort.

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  • Garvin
  • 24-04-16

Only if you have time for depth and greatness.<br />

Do both volumes one and two. You will find all the current political players and pedestrians well represented.

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  • T. Anderson
  • 30-03-16

Exceptional

I object to having
15 words to describe such a book. WTH does that accomplish?

0 of 2 people found this review helpful