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Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography

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In Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America, historian William Gienapp provides a remarkably concise, up-to-date, and vibrant biography of the most revered figure in United States history. While the heart of the book focuses on the Civil War, Gienapp begins with a finely etched portrait of Lincoln's early life, from pioneer farm boy to politician and lawyer in Springfield, t In Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America, historian William Gienapp provides a remarkably concise, up-to-date, and vibrant biography of the most revered figure in United States history. While the heart of the book focuses on the Civil War, Gienapp begins with a finely etched portrait of Lincoln's early life, from pioneer farm boy to politician and lawyer in Springfield, to his stunning election as sixteenth president of the United States. Students will see how Lincoln grew during his years in office, how he developed a keen aptitude for military strategy and displayed enormous skill in dealing with his generals, and how his war strategy evolved from a desire to preserve the Union to emancipation and total war. Gienapp shows how Lincoln's early years influenced his skills as commander-in-chief and demonstrates that, throughout the stresses of the war years, Lincoln's basic character shone through: his good will and fundamental decency, his remarkable self-confidence matched with genuine humility, his immunity to the passions and hatreds the war spawned, his extraordinary patience, and his timeless devotion. A former backwoodsman and country lawyer, Abraham Lincoln rose to become one of our greatest presidents. This biography offers a vivid account of Lincoln's dramatic ascension to the pinnacle of American history.


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In Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America, historian William Gienapp provides a remarkably concise, up-to-date, and vibrant biography of the most revered figure in United States history. While the heart of the book focuses on the Civil War, Gienapp begins with a finely etched portrait of Lincoln's early life, from pioneer farm boy to politician and lawyer in Springfield, t In Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America, historian William Gienapp provides a remarkably concise, up-to-date, and vibrant biography of the most revered figure in United States history. While the heart of the book focuses on the Civil War, Gienapp begins with a finely etched portrait of Lincoln's early life, from pioneer farm boy to politician and lawyer in Springfield, to his stunning election as sixteenth president of the United States. Students will see how Lincoln grew during his years in office, how he developed a keen aptitude for military strategy and displayed enormous skill in dealing with his generals, and how his war strategy evolved from a desire to preserve the Union to emancipation and total war. Gienapp shows how Lincoln's early years influenced his skills as commander-in-chief and demonstrates that, throughout the stresses of the war years, Lincoln's basic character shone through: his good will and fundamental decency, his remarkable self-confidence matched with genuine humility, his immunity to the passions and hatreds the war spawned, his extraordinary patience, and his timeless devotion. A former backwoodsman and country lawyer, Abraham Lincoln rose to become one of our greatest presidents. This biography offers a vivid account of Lincoln's dramatic ascension to the pinnacle of American history.

30 review for Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Exceptionally well-done book. I recommend it to anyone. The most notable thing I can say about it is that it highlights in a most brilliant way, the development and wielding of President Lincoln's leadership and people skills. Lincoln's nature was one of patience and good humor and in spite of the burdens he bore, leading the country through its darkest times, he maintained his good demeanor and his good will toward all men. Mr. Gienapp has done a spectacularly good job with his book. --Wag--

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aine

    Ok, just started this one last night. I was a bit intimidated -- and thinking it was going to be boring/dry -- because it'd been a while since I'd read a politician's biography. But I've been sucked right in. I also want to read "A Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Let me get through this one first though. :)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Poppy Milliken

    A brief biography of Lincoln. Does not go into great depths, but makes for a nice overview. I wanted to know more about his personal life in the white house, but that was not in the scope of this particular book. Luckily, there are hundreds of books on the man and none of them cover everything.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    Read for school. Highly addictive, very readable bio of one of the most awesome American Presidents who ever lived.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Mackie

    We use this for our introduction Lincoln class at LMU.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    This is a great biography on Lincoln. It's an easy read even though it was a required book for my Civil War history class.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ty McEachern

    True greatness is best measured in times of extreme duress; perhaps no moment in the history of this nation was as tumultuous and uncertain as the American Civil War. In that time, a divided nation saw President Abraham Lincoln lead them from certain destruction into a new era of growth and future prosperity. In, Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America, William Gienapp craftily weaves the intricate historical figure Abraham Lincoln into a steady narrative on the events of the Civil War, showcasing True greatness is best measured in times of extreme duress; perhaps no moment in the history of this nation was as tumultuous and uncertain as the American Civil War. In that time, a divided nation saw President Abraham Lincoln lead them from certain destruction into a new era of growth and future prosperity. In, Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America, William Gienapp craftily weaves the intricate historical figure Abraham Lincoln into a steady narrative on the events of the Civil War, showcasing his life from his early days in Illinois to his final days as a brilliant politician. It was during his tenure as President that Lincoln solidified his place as one of the greatest men to ever hold his office; this is seen everyday in a unified and free America. William Geinapp is a professor of history at Harvard University and has written numerous books on 19th century America including This Fiery Trial: The Speeches and Writings of Abraham Lincoln, and The Origins of the Republican Party, 1852-1856.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Penelope

    Very coherent and interesting.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Briana

    This had good information but it was written in away that made it just boring.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    Well-written and provides some interesting insights on Lincoln's growth as a leader, but almost ridiculously short.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Caraher

    Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography is an extremely informative book of the life of our 16th president. It starts out with his life as a young boy, soon growing into his life as an adult. He was raised as a pioneer child who was usually expected to work on the farm, though, however, he instead hated it and tried his best to read whenever possible to educate himself, and soon grew into a great politician. He stuck to his morals, and with his bravery of stopping slaver, he went on t Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography is an extremely informative book of the life of our 16th president. It starts out with his life as a young boy, soon growing into his life as an adult. He was raised as a pioneer child who was usually expected to work on the farm, though, however, he instead hated it and tried his best to read whenever possible to educate himself, and soon grew into a great politician. He stuck to his morals, and with his bravery of stopping slaver, he went on to create the civil war. Nevertheless, Abraham Lincoln was more than a tall man, with an even taller hat. My reaction to this book was that it was a bit boring. Now of course this is a bit objective because history and most non-fiction books do tend to bore me to death. Though it wasn't as boring as anticipated, and was somewhat enjoyable- It is definitely not something that I would want to reread. The book provided me with an immense amount of facts, pictures and firsthand quotes from the president and his colleagues. Though at times this became somewhat overwhelming. Some things in the book surprised me, for I did not know things about him. However, I mainly found the book informative but dry. I would most likely recommend this book to students who need to do a report. This is because it is informative and to the point and would get you enough facts on Abraham Lincoln. Though I didn't like the book, it did help me in my report so I do think it would help others. I would also recommend this book to historians who would want to learn more about the 16th president. It would provide them with a lot of information and is a very clean biography with no biased opinions.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diwakar

    A crisp, concise account of a great man's life. Set in the harsh backdrop of 19th century America, the book brings out the conflicts of the time and how the question of slavery was viewed by most white Americans. Some of the arguments put forward in Lincoln's public speeches are eye opening, especially his views on colonisation to migrate black salves as a solution. Biographies tend to be too wordy with many views imposed upon the reader. This book avoids that pitfall. However, the conciseness a A crisp, concise account of a great man's life. Set in the harsh backdrop of 19th century America, the book brings out the conflicts of the time and how the question of slavery was viewed by most white Americans. Some of the arguments put forward in Lincoln's public speeches are eye opening, especially his views on colonisation to migrate black salves as a solution. Biographies tend to be too wordy with many views imposed upon the reader. This book avoids that pitfall. However, the conciseness also means that there are many names thrown about without enough information on those characters which had me frequently looking up things on the internet.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A great biography of Lincoln that's easy to read without sacrificing accuracy. It's very accessible and avoids hyperbole or speculation one way or another. My only problem with this was the depiction of Mary Todd Lincoln, who is described repeatedly as hysterical. Hysteria is so loaded in the context of the Victorian era that I would have expected a historian to challenge that instead of just accepting the "diagnosis", but since this is not a Mary Lincoln biography that was not his focus. Otherw A great biography of Lincoln that's easy to read without sacrificing accuracy. It's very accessible and avoids hyperbole or speculation one way or another. My only problem with this was the depiction of Mary Todd Lincoln, who is described repeatedly as hysterical. Hysteria is so loaded in the context of the Victorian era that I would have expected a historian to challenge that instead of just accepting the "diagnosis", but since this is not a Mary Lincoln biography that was not his focus. Otherwise well recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I love History books. This was not well written. It violates the number one rule for journalism: "Show don't tell." Don't say, "By the time Congress adjourned in August, Lincoln had largely developed his style of leadership" without showing us this is true. Characters were introduced then quickly dropped. Tell more about his family life. What happened to his children--too much stuff was left out to make it an easy read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Leidner

    For a short biography, Gienapp's work is insightful, thorough, and a great read. I've read a lot of Lincoln biographies, most of which are much longer, but I still learned a lot about Lincoln in this book. I believe Allen Guelzo's "Reedemer President" is the best of the longer biographies of Lincoln, but Gienapp's "Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography" is the best that is under 300 pages. He provides the reader with a balanced picture of Lincoln and the times he lived in.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Farmer

    I am embarrassed by how little I know about the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. Probably because of my ignorance, I learned a great deal about both the war and its President in this short book. I suspect it's all old news for anyone well-versed in the era. But as an introduction to Lincoln's missteps and strengths, as well as the Civil War's socio-political context, it was great.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alisha Helton

    This book was wonderful and historically accurate. I hate e it 4 stars because it wasn't as detailed as it could have been. There were some more personal stories of Abraham Lincoln that could have been mentioned to help give the reader a better understanding of him. However, this book has taught me a lot about that particular time in history.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Iman

    This is a good read for college students, or anyone who would like a nice overview of the man's life. Per the title, the bulk of this book is focused on his position in office and the civil war time. The author loved Lincoln and that is the point of view this book is written from.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Patti

    Enjoyed reading about Lincoln and the history/politics of his day. With the exception of Lincoln, a surprising number of politicians and upper echelon military were portrayed as even more vacuous and self-centered than they are today. Very sad.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David

    I would give this 3 1/2 stars if I could. It was an easy-to-read, but a bit standard, biography. Overall, it chronicles Lincoln's life accessibly, which has both its pros and cons, but it was enjoyable enough to give it more than an average rating.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Beau Yeiser

    This is a great introduction to Abraham Lincoln's life and the key moments of his career. If you're looking for his early life, or his assassination, look elsewhere. But if you want to read a short and sweet summary of his life from birth to death this is a good read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Leah Capritta

    Breezily written, Gienapp's biography shows us Lincoln in his finest and at his worst. I particularly enjoyed descriptions of the battles drawn as a foil against the political events.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Skj

    pretty sure this is the one I read

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris Schaben

    Pretty good, interesting biography of Abraham Lincoln.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    Phenomenal book on Lincoln's early life and his journey into the ages.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tiah Keever

    Insightful,informative,interesting.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Had some good info, but it overall was pretty dry

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    A good concise biography of Lincoln using much of the resources of the past few years. At 200 pages, it's a good overview of the life and the Civil War.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    A pretty good read about Lincoln and his leadership

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Elizabeth

    I enjoyed the biography aspect, learning about Loncoln's early life and such. The political, war stuff took me so long to get through.

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