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Lincoln and the Civil WarLincoln and the Civil War

Michael Burlingame

Narrated by Charles Bice

Approximately 6 hours

Unabridged


Downloadable edition:

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Book published by Southern Illinois University Press


In Lincoln and the Civil War, Michael Burlingame explores the experiences and qualities that made Abraham Lincoln one of America’s most revered leaders. This volume provides an illuminating overview of the entirety of the Civil War and Lincoln’s administration, focusing on the ways in which Lincoln’s unique combination of psychological maturity, steely determination, and political wisdom made him the North’s secret weapon that ultimately led to supremacy over the Confederacy.

When war erupted in 1861, the North—despite its superior economic resources and manpower—was considered the underdog of the conflict. The need to invade the South brought no advantage to the inefficient, poorly led Union Army. In contrast, Southerners’ knowledge of their home terrain, access to railroads, familiarity with firearms, and outdoor lifestyles, along with the presumed support of foreign nations, made victory over the North seem a likely outcome. In the face of such daunting obstacles, only one person could unite disparate Northerners and rally them to victory in the darkest moments of the war: Abraham Lincoln.

While Lincoln is often remembered today as one of America’s wisest presidents, he was not always considered so sage. Burlingame demonstrates how, long before the rigors of his presidency and the Civil War began to affect him, Lincoln wrestled with the demons of midlife to ultimately emerge as arguably the most self-aware, humble, and confident leader in American history. This metamorphosis from sarcastic young politician to profound statesman uniquely prepared him for the selfless dedication the war years would demand. Whereas his counterpart, Jefferson Davis, became mired in personal power plays, perceived slights, and dramas, Lincoln rose above personal concerns to always place the preservation of the Union first. Lincoln’s ability, along with his eloquence, political savvy, and grasp of military strategy made him a formidable leader whose honesty and wisdom inspired undying loyalty.

In addition to offering fresh perspectives on Lincoln’s complex personality and on the other luminaries of his administration, Lincoln and the Civil War takes readers on a brief but thorough tour of the war itself, from the motivations and events leading to Southern secession and the first shots at Fort Sumter to plans for Reconstruction and Lincoln’s tragic assassination. Throughout the journey, Burlingame demonstrates how Lincoln’s steady hand at the helm navigated the Union through the most perilous events of the war and held together the pieces of an unraveling nation.

Michael Burlingame is the holder of the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He is the author of several books on Lincoln.

REVIEWS:

“The author of the most deeply-researched and detailed biography of Abraham Lincoln ever written here provides a remarkably concise and authoritative overview of the Civil War. Drawing on his massive research, Burlingame selects anecdotes and details that effectively illustrate Lincoln's critical role.”

—Douglas L. Wilson, Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College

“With a brisk pace and bracing tone, Michael Burlingame assays the titanic clash of the Civil War and the man whose personality and resolve guided the Union to victory. Those who already know Abraham Lincoln will find him alive on these pages. Those whose acquaintance with him is marginal will gain a full sense of the man and his destiny.”

—David S. Heidler, coauthor of Henry Clay: The Essential American

“The idea that Abraham Lincoln was an essential element in Union victory is hardly a new one, but never before has the case been made so forcefully, or at such length, as it is in Michael Burlingame’s Lincoln and the Civil War. Critics may quibble that the North could have won without him, but as Burlingame demonstrates conclusively, it could not have won in the way that it did without his stewardship. Lincoln’s leadership was just as decisive off the battlefield as it was on, and his role in keeping the courage and determination of the Northern people up to the task is especially well detailed. We have many books on Lincoln that really never needed to be written. This is one that did.”

—William C. Davis, Director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech




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