As conservatives, we often praise Ronald Reagan and George Washington as presidents we love and uphold as emblems of freedom. We too often forget about the first Republican President, Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, Abraham Lincoln was the first person elected to be President of the United States on the Republican Party ticket. Obviously, he’s also well known for a lot of other things, including preserving the union during the Civil War, but how could we overlook the fact that he was a Republican? Here are eight great books about Abraham Lincoln to add to your reading lists this winter.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln  
Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln’s political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president. On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.

Lincoln  A masterful work by Pulitzer Prize–winning author David Herbert Donald, Lincoln is a stunning portrait of Abraham Lincoln’s life and presidency.Donald brilliantly depicts Lincoln’s gradual ascent from humble beginnings in rural Kentucky to the ever-expanding political circles in Illinois, and finally to the presidency of a country divided by civil war. Donald goes beyond biography, illuminating the gradual development of Lincoln’s character, chronicling his tremendous capacity for evolution and growth, thus illustrating what made it possible for a man so inexperienced and so unprepared for the presidency to become a great moral leader. In the most troubled of times, here was a man who led the country out of slavery and preserved a shattered Union—in short, one of the greatest presidents this country has ever seen.

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American SlaverySelected as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, this landmark work gives us a definitive account of Lincoln’s lifelong engagement with the nation’s critical issue: American slavery. A master historian, Eric Foner draws Lincoln and the broader history of the period into perfect balance. We see Lincoln, a pragmatic politician grounded in principle, deftly navigating the dynamic politics of antislavery, secession, and civil war. Lincoln’s greatness emerges from his capacity for moral and political growth.

The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln The most eloquent of American presidents, Lincoln seemed to have a comment—sagacious or humorous—on just about anything that mattered. This concise compendium offers his astute observations on a variety of subjects—from women to warfare. Nearly 400 quotations include such thought-provoking and memorable remarks as: Bad promises are better broken than kept.
Marriage is neither heaven nor hell; it is simply purgatory. Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. Quotations are arranged chronologically within such topics as family and friends, the law, politics and the presidency, story-telling, religion, and morality. Students, writers, public speakers, and other readers will find this thought-provoking and entertaining volume an excellent introduction to the sixteenth president’s wit, common sense, and insight.

Lincoln: A PhotobiographyAbraham Lincoln stood out in a crowd as much for his wit and rollicking humor as for his height. This Newbery Medal-winning biography of our Civil War president is warm, appealing, and illustrated with dozens of carefully chosen photographs and prints. Russell Freedman begins with a lively account of Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood, his career as a country lawyer, and his courtship and marriage to Mary Todd. Then the author focuses on the presidential years (1861 to 1865), skillfullly explaining the many complex issues Lincoln grappled with as he led a deeply divided nation through the Civil War. The book’s final chapter is a moving account of that tragic evening in Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Concludes with a sampling of Lincoln writings and a detailed list of Lincoln historical sites.

Abraham Lincoln Best-selling author James M. McPherson follows the son of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks from his early years in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, to his highly successful law career, his marriage to Mary Todd, and his one term in Congress. We witness his leadership of the Republican anti-slavery movement, his famous debates with Stephen A. Douglas (a long acquaintance and former rival for the hand of Mary Todd), and his emergence as a candidate for president in 1860. Following Lincoln’s election to the presidency, McPherson describes his masterful role as Commander in Chief during the Civil War, the writing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and his assassination by John Wilkes Booth. The book also discusses his lasting legacy and why he remains a quintessential American hero two hundred years after his birth, while an annotated bibliography permits easy access to further scholarship. With his ideal short account of Lincoln, McPherson provides a compelling biography of a man of humble origins who preserved our nation during its greatest catastrophe and ended the scourge of slavery.

Lincoln: Speeches and Writings  Beautifully illustrated with atmospheric images, this is the second of two superb volumes of Lincoln’s speeches and writings. Lincoln measured the promise–and cost–of American freedom in lucid and extraordinarily moving prose. Here in this Volume Two of this two volume set (“Speeches and Writings 1859-1865” and “Speeches and Writings 1832-1858”), are all the significant works, including the complete Lincoln-Douglas debates, dozens of speeches, hundreds of personal and political letters, communications to generals in the field, presidential messages and proclamations, poems, and private reflections on democracy, slavery, and the meaning of the Civil War’s immense impact on the United States of America. This meticulous digital edition from Heritage Illustrated Publishing is a faithful reproduction of the original text and is enhanced with images carefully selected by our team of professional editors.

Abraham Lincoln and Civil War AmericaIn Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America, historian William Gienapp provides a remarkably concise, up-to-date, and vibrant biography of the most revered figure in United States history. While the heart of the book focuses on the Civil War, Gienapp begins with a finely etched portrait of Lincoln’s early life, from pioneer farm boy to politician and lawyer in Springfield, to his stunning election as sixteenth president of the United States. Students will see how Lincoln grew during his years in office, how he developed a keen aptitude for military strategy and displayed enormous skill in dealing with his generals, and how his war strategy evolved from a desire to preserve the Union to emancipation and total war. Gienapp shows how Lincoln’s early years influenced his skills as commander-in-chief and demonstrates that, throughout the stresses of the war years, Lincoln’s basic character shone through: his good will and fundamental decency, his remarkable self-confidence matched with genuine humility, his immunity to the passions and hatreds the war spawned, his extraordinary patience, and his timeless devotion. A former backwoodsman and country lawyer, Abraham Lincoln rose to become one of our greatest presidents. This biography offers a vivid account of Lincoln’s dramatic ascension to the pinnacle of American history.

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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member