Fred Kaplan s Lincoln offers penetrating insights on Lincoln s ability to explain complex ideas in language accessible to a broad range of readers and listeners. James M. McPherson, The New York Review of Books
A fine, invaluable book. . . . Certain to become essential to our understanding of the 16th president. . . . Kaplan meticulously analyzes how Lincoln s steadily maturing prose style enabled him to come to grips with slavery and, as his own views evolved, to express his deepening opposition to it. Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World
Fascinating. . . . persuasive [and] highly perceptive. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
From acclaimed biographer Fred Kaplan comes an illuminating look at the life of Abraham Lincoln that chronicles his genius with language.
For Abraham Lincoln, whether he was composing love letters, speeches, or legal arguments, words mattered. In Lincoln, acclaimed biographer Fred Kaplan explores the life of America's sixteenth president through his use of language both as a vehicle to express complex ideas and feelings and as an instrument of persuasion and empowerment. This unique account of Lincoln's life and career highlights the shortcomings of the modern presidency, reminding us, through Lincoln's legacy and appreciation for language, that the careful and honest use of words is a necessity for successful democracy.
Illuminating and engrossing, Lincoln brilliantly chronicles Abraham Lincoln's genius with language.
Mr. Kaplan does a persuasive, highly perceptive job of explicating the influences that various authors had on Lincoln's thinking, as well as the role that writing played in helping the young Illinois politician articulate an identity of his own. In fact, as Mr. Kaplan sees it, language "was the tool by which" Lincoln "explored and defined himself," and as president he would try to find a language to "harness and implement" his political ideas "in a country whose alternative narrative would lead, he believed, to betrayal and disaster."