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Abraham Lincoln

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Abraham Lincoln.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Lord Charnwood(Author),Basil Williams(Editor)

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This Is A New Release Of The Original 1919 Edition.

3.5 (6905)
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Review Text

  • By JZS on March 25, 2014

    Lord Charnwood (Godfrey Benson) was a respected British scholar and politician, born the year before Lincoln's assassination. He was not born of nobility but was made a Baron by King George V in 1911, five years before this book was published. His scholarship is apparent in this impressive biography of Lincoln.Although "Abraham Lincoln" was written by an Englishman for Englishmen (Charnwood's own words) and his admiration of Lincoln is apparent from the beginning, the book is an objective, fascinating history that Americans can appreciate. The book was written in the historical "sweet spot"- decades removed from the tragedy of the American Civil War and Lincoln's assassination but not so distant that memories had faded and historical records vanished. In fact, Lincoln's son Robert had just been named ambassador to England.This is not a lightweight biography; but an intelligent, comprehensive look at not only Lincoln but also other great personalities of his times as well as US history. The second chapter of the book alone is an interesting history of the early US prior to Lincoln. Spending time to give context adds greatly to our understanding of the man. Americans learn about Lincoln in grade school so it is not surprising that the stories of Lincoln tend to be simple. Later studies of American history focus more on the American Civil War and the fight to end slavery than Lincoln the man and his overall philosophies. As a result many of us have a child's view of Lincoln with a simple acceptance of him as an icon/hero. Lord Charnwood's biography gives us a deeper view of Lincoln the man, the politician, his core beliefs and personality. Charnwood shows a man of great intellect and ambition, who was remarkably pure of heart and crude of taste. A man befuddled and shy of women but a champion of women's rights from the beginning of his career. A man who was admired for his honesty and humor but who suffered from chronic depression. A man who abhorred slavery from his youth but whose driving motivation was preservation of the Union above all else.The true greatness of an individual is often obscured by anecdotes and myths that surround them. Abraham Lincoln is a classic example of this. I much prefer the hero Charnwood reveals to a one dimensional myth.As a final note, this kindle version is very well formatted but there is a "trick" at the end. After the final chapter, appendix, biographical note and chronology, the book seems to end. Go to the table of contents and you can follow links to more content including Lee's opinion of the war and correspondence between Lee and Herbert Saunders.

  • By V. C. Baker on May 31, 2015

    Even though I was surprised that the front cover of the Kindle book spelt the author's name incorrectly, I thoroughly enjoyed this biography. It was written more than a century ago and the benefit is that you don't get comparisons to many of the "modern" wars, which could have cluttered the narrative. The author is writing for an English audience, and so terminology and events that would be self-evident to an American are carefully explained. The book makes many things clear about Lincoln and the Civil War which had always confused me before as a non-American. Despite writing so many years ago, the author's values and beliefs are liberal and "universal" and his approach to Lincoln is clear-eyed and balanced. His periods are a bit convoluted and his paragraphs are a bit long, but his choices in pulling out what he thought would enhance our knowledge of Lincoln, from the mass of material available to him, is impeccable.

  • By S. Moss on July 28, 2011

    Originally published in 1916, Charnwood's biography is a well written account of the actions Lincoln took throughout his lifetime. Charnwood does an excellent job at explaining Lincoln's intellectual growth by showing how his early influences were rooted in the ideas of Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. His admiration for Webster/Clay influenced Lincoln's thought on the nature of the union. He believed that the United States was the product of a "one people or one nation" as Webster espoused, not the product of a union between several independent states.Charnwood does a good job detailing the early career of Lincoln especially with regards to Lincoln's stance on slavery. The author describes Lincoln as an opponent of slavery on a personal level, but Lincoln was not an abolitionist. Lincoln opposed the expansion of slavery into the territories of the west, a view Lincoln believed was consistent with the founders. After Lincoln was voted out of office because of his dissent to the Mexican-American War, Lincoln was going into retirement from public service but the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 prompted Lincoln into politics once again. According to Charnwood, the reasoning for Lincoln to enter politics again was due to the fact that the Kansas-Nebraska Act opened the western territories to slavery. As stated before, Lincoln viewed that the founders were opposed to the expansion of slavery and that it was a necessary evil needed to be contained which would eventually lead to its extinction. However, Lincoln viewed the Kansas-Nebraska Act to be giving new life to slavery and that was the deciding factor for Lincoln to enter politics again.The Charnwood text provides the standard accounts of the American Civil War in that the purpose behind Lincoln's actions for war was to preserve the union. Charnwood explains that in the beginning Lincoln was not in favor of freeing the slaves, but his position evolved to later support emancipation. Charnwood believed that Lincoln's decision evolved towards emancipation because slavery became an obstacle for the reunification of the states. Lincoln's decision to suspend civil liberties such as the Writ of Habeas Corpus, Speech, and other liberties was based on the idea that as commander in chief he had certain powers which were not stated in the Constitution. Charnwood backs up that claim by explaining that in all wars the commander of the battlefield was able to institute rules over the area of occupation and sense Lincoln was that commander those powers belonged to him. Charnwood also uses the examples of English Common Law and Hamilton's explanation of common law in the Federalist Papers as proof that Lincoln was right in claiming powers not delegated in the Constitution to suspend civil liberties.

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