978-0-394-60720-7 / 9780394607207

G20 Abraham Lincoln


Publisher:Modern Library



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About the book:

He was the most eloquent of American presidents, with the possible exception of FDR, and the moral vision that sustained the nation during the Civil War illuminates nearly every page in this hefty collection of Abraham Lincoln's speeches, writings, and correspondence. It's not just the famous phrases--"mystic chords of memory" (first inaugural address), "government of the people, by the people, for the people" (Gettysburg Address), "with malice toward none" (second inaugural address)--that resonate. It's an artistic and political genius that could express complex ethical questions in simple, compelling language, as when Lincoln defined slavery's defenders as holding the "same tyrannical principle" as Europe's kings: "the same spirit that says, 'You toil and work and earn bread, and I'll eat it.'" Editor Philip Van Doren Stern's annotations provide helpful background, and his 200-page biographical essay ably encapsulates the principal developments in Lincoln's life and thought as they were known in 1940, when this volume was first published. The extreme privation of his youth, the terrible melancholy that often afflicted him, and the sorrows of his personal life make Lincoln's public achievements all the more staggering. Stern wisely respects the mysterious alchemy by which a plain man became a statesman; this respectful anthology seeks only to present Lincoln, not to explain him. --Wendy Smith

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