Sunday, August 15, 2010

Abraham Lincoln Book Review

Abraham Lincoln, a Man of Faith and Courage: Stories of Our Most Admired PresidentAbraham Lincoln, a Man of Faith and Courage: Stories of Our Most Admired President by Joe Wheeler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why I loved this book:

1). It was well-written and engaging. I enjoyed reading it and didn't want to put down.

2). The author stays positive and doesn't delve into potentially negative issues. He deals with Mary Lincoln's depression and break downs with compassion and understanding. The author deals with Thomas Lincoln (Abraham's father) with respect due to a man who was the father of one of the greatest men who ever lived. He only eluded to the strain between father and son once or twice. When we review greatness we need to look at the greatness and not be seeking ways to tear them down.

3). Points how the mentoring process that Lincoln went through to become great. I especially enjoyed learning about his study of Plutarch.

4). The author points how how Lincoln was a man of faith instead of changing him into a non-believer. The author recounts a comment Lincoln made during the Civil War, "I made a solemn vow before God that if General Lee was driven back from Pennsylvania, I would crown the result by the declaration of freedom from the slaves." Modern scholars have changed the first line to read, "I made a solemn resolve...." and this way disconnect him from a belief in God.

5). I felt this was well researched. He notes that unless he could find official documentation he didn't include it as fact. The author states that many quotes are attributed to Lincoln that may or may not be authentic. He choose to stick to the facts.

6). There were a great many historical events leading up to the Civil War that helped set the war in motion. This book lays out these events and they serve as a good first encounter. Included are the events of the Missouri Compromise, Dred Scott Decision, Whig Party, beginning of the Republican party, presidency of Buchanan and Fort Sumter for starters. Like I said this would be a good first introduction to many pivotal events in American History that youth can study.

I found this an enjoyable read that I will keep on my shelf. It will be the book I recommend to my children when they want to learn about Abraham Lincoln.

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