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on 16 August 2016
Goodwin's portrayal of Lincoln as a magnanimous, forgiving, patient and politically astute leader is wonderfully enjoyable as it unfolds. Although quite a long read, the back stories of each character are brought together into one beautifully told tale which deserves necessary detail. The relationships really speak to you emotionally, particularly between Lincoln and Seward. Even more so, the mutual love and respect that underpins each relationship between Lincoln and many others in his political network is remarkably touching and a joy to discover. His emotional intelligence coupled with a keen ability to connect with most people he met is explained very well, leaving you greatly humbled by such a capacity for understanding, communication and forgiveness. A truly great man surrounded by a deeply committed, principled, ambitious and interesting supporting cast. A gripping and delightful read.
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on 5 May 2012
Thoroughly enjoyable book that keeps your attention and that includes carrying it on buses to and from work - and it's not a light tome! Well-written and extremely interesting analysis of the political workings of Lincoln's mind. It does make you wonder if he, like Churchill, spent a good part of his life being prepared for one very Big Job i.e. shepherding a nation through the perils of war and the doubts that go with sustaining a grim resolution to see it through despite the scale of sacrifice. Lincoln's "team" is described in detail and their machinations with, around and/or against the President, create plenty of tension in every chapter. They do all though come across as real people with genuine beliefs and motivations. Highly recommended.
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on 31 March 2013
Engrossing account of a remarkable period in America's history,dominated by the tragedy of civil war, yet brought to a final conclusion by a team of statesmen - some of whom who initially saw themselves as better qualified for leadership, yet were later to acknowledge the skill and genius of Lincoln's adroit and compassionate leadership. Rivalry, tragedy and set backs on the battlefield were finally overcome by the need to keep a balance of the political forces in both country and party when Lincoln knew the ultimate goal of the struggle was to maintain the Union and then the moral and legal argument to end slavery. Once accomplished his own death through assassination quickly followed.
This historical narrative is brilliantly told, it is so well written that length is no deterrent to one's enjoyment, indeed it is with a sense of sadness that the end is finally reached. Highly recommended for both the general reader and specialist.
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on 20 January 2016
Lincoln's humour,warm personality, intellect and desperation to keep the Union together come out strongly.

As ever, the lunatics in the military were as much his opposition as the nasty segragationists though it was illuminating to learn just how far Lincoln went, and would have gone, to preserve the Southern States' 'property rights' over black people.
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on 30 July 2017
Got this for a course I am taking and I did not expect it to be a page turner, but it is. Totally absorbing and succeeds in making Lincoln less of a famous statue and more a man, a flawed man of course but undeniably a great one.
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on 10 June 2013
This is an exceptioally good book on the subject of the Civil War, and the character of Abraham Lincoln. I learned a lot from it, for instance, why he seemed to have an ambivalent attitude about freeing the slaves. My only reservation is that people, unlike myself, who has an American educational background, might find it full of names and dates, battles and traditions with which others might not connect. This is a book that President Obama evidently valued, and I can see why. I loved it. It broadened greatly my understanding of Abraham Lincoln.
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VINE VOICEon 13 May 2015
This is a long book, but it probably takes that to fully represent the character of Abraham Lincoln and, probably even more so, his Secretary of State, Seward. For me they were the stars. Added to that, it is a wonder how America got through its terrible Civil War at all. No wonder it is still a country of terrible divisions, and a country of sanctioned and accepted violence.
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on 2 March 2013
I did not know much about Abe Lincoln so this book was a wonderful education, not only about this great man but also about a key part of American history. It is superb and I am in awe of Doris Goodwin's research and the work she clearly put in to create this wonderful book. I just wish in my lifetime we could have a political leader that had a fraction of Lincoln's intelligence and humanity, he clearly was a one off but also very human. If you read one 'serious' book this year then make it this one.
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on 12 February 2013
So you have seen that amazing film 'Lincoln'? Now read the book on which the film is based if you really want to understand this iconic man. This book is a big read-and you need to keep going until you get really familiar with the key characters. But the writing is lucid and fluent and the author Doris Kearns Goodwin extends an insistent invitation to the reader to keep in there. At last you can place the main protagonists in the film, so that you come to fully understand the man at the centre of those terrible years of Civil War and how he skilfully holds the team of rivals together who originally fought for the presidency. The winner was an almost unknown lawyer from Illinois who stole the prize from under many important noses. This is one of the best non-fiction books I have read for years and it will make you want to read more about this inspiration of a leader. I read the Kindle edition and I regret this since the maps and the illustrations are not at their best in this version. So I guess I will now have to buy the book as well.
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on 12 March 2013
I normally read fiction but decided to read this after seeing the film "Lincoln". I realised I didn't understand the history of the American Civil War or indeed the details around the Abolition of Slavery. This is a great book, beautifully researched and full of interesting small details about the main protagonists.Doris Kearns Goodwin loves her subject matter and reveals Abraham Lincoln as a man who towered above others in his magnanimity, his political shrewdness, his humanity and above all his ability to disarm his opponents. A must read for anyone who is interested in influencing others.
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