WINNER OF THE 2004 14th ANNUAL LINCOLN PRIZE
"This is the biography of a prudent, decisive, activist Lincoln the world
has been waiting for. Richard Carwardine has drawn a true portrait of the
strengths of Lincoln's personal character, the development and tenacity of
Lincoln's ethical convictions, his subtle and deliberate political acumen,
his respect and embrace of moral principles for the conduct of personal
relations and public statecraft; and, finally, Carwardine demonstrates
Lincoln's mastery of men and of public opinion."
Lewis E. Lehrman, Co-Chairman of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American
"Rarely does a biography of a popular historical figure offer all the qualities that make for a good read: lively writing, a fresh perspective, significant insight, and a compelling narrative. Carwardine does all this and more ... There is simply no other Lincoln biography like it." Tom Schwartz, Illinois State Historian
"a brilliant addition to the Lincoln literature" Books and Culture
"Richard Carwardine’s study of the political leadership of Abraham Lincoln represents an extraordinary achievement" Mark A. Noll, Professor of History Wheaton College, IL
"The book offers an insightful, judicious and in some ways original study of Lincoln's public career." London Review of Books
" This is a work of careful reflection - concise, lucid, cogent and providing a fair, balanced, and at times fresh perspective." History Review
From the Back Cover
"Rarely does a biography of a popular historical figure offer all the qualities that make for a good read: lively writing, a fresh perspective, significant insight, and a compelling narrative. Carwardine does all this and more ... There is simply no other Lincoln biography like it."
-- Tom Schwartz, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
" The publication of this beautifully written book, which makes use of the earliest evidence and the latest insights, marks a high point in a decade that has been particularly rich in Lincoln scholarship. No one seriously interested in Lincoln can afford to ignore Carwardine's judicious work."
-- Daniel Walker Howe, Oxford University and The Huntington Library
"The Atlantic can serve as a wonderful clarifying prism. Oxford don Richard Carwardine looks across it and paints a remarkable picture of the greatest of the Americans who fused the secular and the sacred."
-- Gabor S. Boritt, Director, Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College
As a staunch defender of national unity, a successful war-leader, and the emancipator of the slaves, Abraham Lincoln lays compelling claim to being the greatest of America's presidents.
This fresh political biography examines Lincoln both as a rising politician and as president, and focuses on the sources of his authority and achievement. It reveals his political talents and serious moral purpose but shows, too, how in pursuing office he depended on public opinion and the machinery of party. As war leader, he saw the limits as well as the possibilities of power, and looked beyond the government to other engines of support, including the churches, the humanitarian agencies and the volunteer Union army.
Carwardine's study places Lincoln firmly within the changing context of his time, and shows his talent for reading and reaching many strands of opinion as he fashioned a national purpose. Emancipation became an end in itself, toward which God’s own plan appeared to be driving him.
Richard J. Carwardine is Rhodes Professor of American History at Oxford University. His publications include Evangelicals and Politics in Antebellum America (Yale University Press, 1993).