Book Reviews: The Lincolns

I loved Lincoln the movie – LOVED it – but I didn’t immediately rush to read more about him.  I didn’t plan to read anything about him at all but I was in the library and ended up checking out a couple books that looked short but interesting.
The first, Meeting Mr. Lincoln, I read in a few hours.  A collection of first hand accounts from individuals who met the great president, the book is a bona fide page turner.  While watching the movie I wondered if Lincoln was really a notorious story teller who met with average Americans in the White House and soldiers on the battlefield and at the hospitals.  Turns out he was.  As far as I can tell, Abraham Lincoln truly stood head and shoulders above the rest and granted every request he could.  He wasn’t shy about giving pardons.  In fact, he was so liberal in his pardons to both deserters and Confederates that it drove the Generals crazy.  However, he had no tolerance for slave traders and refused to grant a man a pardon who dealt in that trade.  I could retell all the stories in the book but I’ll leave it to you to check it out yourself.
Abraham and Mary Lincoln was nothing special.  A generic mini-biography, it gave me an overview but no depth.  It reminded me a lot of The King and the Cowboy, a decent biography about Theodore Roosevelt and King Edward VII that had no real point and found unnecessary parallels to bring up pointless facts.  In the King and the Cowboy it was pretending Teddy and Edward had any sort of relation to each other.  In Abraham and Mary it was pretending Mary had a connection to Queen Victoria.  Both entirely pointless but equally harmless.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the book but it’s fine to flip through if you’re looking for basic information about the Lincolns.


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