Monday, May 25, 2009

Book Review: A. LINCOLN, A BIOGRAPHY by Ronald C. White, Jr. (Random House, 2009)

This being the bicentennial year of Abraham Lincoln's birth, how could I not read at least one Lincoln biography? I learned of White's effort on The Michael Medved Show and was glad of the tip. It is a solid effort with good insights on the structure of Lincoln's speeches and his developing religious beliefs. The author's straightforward tone and generally formal mode of presentation hits the occasional jarring note --White's comment that historians have typically portrayed Copperhead leader Clement Vallandigham as "a wacko" stands out like a particularly sore, throbbing thumb -- but the typical reader will feel as though he or she is neither being condescended to nor lectured at. Given the plethora of recent books purporting to "out" Lincoln as a socialist, tyrant, homosexual, etc., it's nice to read a narrative that takes Lincoln "as he is" and, while critical at times, fully recognizes and respects the pivotal role he played in the history of America.

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