Books Magazine

Review: Lincoln

By Thebangtoddowenwaldorf @BangLiving

Before I left for Australia, I had quit my job at Charles Schwab.  The team that I was on gave me a going away Review:  Lincolnpresent, a gift card for a book store.  They knew I had been a fiend of reading for some time and it was a clutch gift.  So I went to the book store and almost immediately I found two humongous books, one on Nelson Mandela and the other on Abraham Lincoln.   I bought these two giganta-saurs and I put them on the shelf and then I went to Australia.  They sat there for a year.  While I was in Australia I read from a Kindle.  I am a romantic, and I love the way a book feels and looks and smells, but for my Australia travels the Kindle was perfect.  A small concise little piece of hardware that allowed me to hold dozens of books without the weight and space in my pack.  When I returned to The States a couple of weeks ago I grabbed for one of the two books. 

The book I grabbed was Lincoln.  It was written by a guy named David Herbert Donald.  I knew squat about Abraham Lincoln before this book,

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and the process of changing that has not been a quick one.  This book is six hundred pages of fact after fact of lawyer history speak which is the perfect cure for insomnia.  It’s taken me several weeks but I am on the last two dozen pages and this is what I’ve learned.  People hated Lincoln.  Well, not in the end of course, but man they did not want to let slavery go.  People hated Lincoln so badly that as soon as he became President the Civil War began.  Just like that.  He hadn’t even put into action anything regarding emancipating slaves.  Nope, Lincoln became President, and the Southern states seceded from the Union, and there you go.  Oh, a state seceding is pretty much saying, we are not a part of your cool guy club anymore, hence they were no longer a part of the Union of the States.  Those seceded states called themselves the Confederate States of America, although this was never recognized even once by President Lincoln.  Here is a fun fact, Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President.  Yep, with him the Republican party began.  General Robert Lee led the Confederate Army, and you might
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think that General Ulysses Grant led the Union Army the entire time but he didn’t.  Nope, President Lincoln had a heck of a hard time with his Generals.  Simply put, they were stubborn, timid, and didn’t always agree with Lincoln.  Now President Lincoln came from a lawyer background (the most dry part of the book – ouch, painnful) and knew next to nothing on military matters, but he was also a firm student in matters of interest and after he did some research began to become more involved with the direction his Generals were taking the war.  The Union got their butts kicked for many years and during that time Lincoln went through General after General.  So, how did General Grant come to be the controller of the victorious Union Army?  By being so far out of reach into the west that no one could interfere with his methods, and winning.  He didn’t always win, but he was a solid strategist and had no sights set on being a politician, unlike many of the other Generals who had.  So finally he becomes controller of the Union Army.  During this time the Union won several battles and the consensus of the people began to back President Lincoln, even though he had enacted the Emancipation Proclamation, which said that all of the Confederate States that seceded from the Union are no longer able to have slaves.  The reason he didn’t make it a full blown Proclamation for the entire country was because he didn’t want to lose the states that were still a part of the Union, plus the northern states weren’t as stubborn to let go of slavery and he knew that slavery would
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slowly fall a part.  It did.  With the growing support of the Union, which stemmed from several wins in their favor, he was re-elected for a second term of Presidency.  Shortly into his second term favor for Lincoln grew as tides turned heavily in favor of the Union.  The Confederate cabinet fled from their central post of Richmond and this was the clear sign that the Confederacy was doomed to fail.  Lincoln, having been the second President in history to serve a second term, was now among the most popular of any to serve the country.  Not everyone let go of the Confederate defeat though, and that is where John Wilkes Booth comes in.  I was surprised to learn that Booth was actually an actor, which explains a little bit why the location of the assassination occurred at Ford’s Theater.  John Wilkes Booth, although a member of the northern states, was a strong supporter of the southern movement.  Booth had been in touch with the Confederacy well before it fell, and had spoken with its lower level secret service agents about kidnapping Lincoln.  When the Confederacy crumbled, with the surrender of General Lee at the Battle of Appomattox and the evacuation at Richmond, Booth no longer had anyone to report to and he took matters unto his
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own.  The plot to kidnap brewed into thoughts of assassination and when Lincoln gave his speech regarding suffrage, allowing the black population to vote, Booth became obsessed with it.  The book hits hard at the end and after an emotional tug, I’m glad that I read it.  I’m sure through having a better understanding of this man, the acts of freedom that were hard and desperately fought for, and the defying of the strongest odds I am myself, a better man.  Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865, and died the following morning.  The doctor present said that a regular man would have died within two hours.

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