Rick E. reviewed With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln on
Stephen B. Oates is a master biographer. I had read his MLK biography several years ago and came away feeling well versed in this great figure. The same can be said for Oates' treatment of Lincoln. Like King, Lincoln has been mythologized beyond the point of recognition but Oates succinctly draws a portrait of Lincoln as the son of a poor family who in spite of his meager beginnings used his tenacity, intellect, and values to rise to the top of the Whig and Republican parties and ultimately to the presidency during a time of the country's greatest vulnerability. This is not a portrait of a marble statue but that of driven man who fought off depression, snobbish in-laws and easterners with his father's charm and high-pitched Kentucky drawl. Any future biographies of Lincoln will be compared favorably or unfavorably to this one.
here is Lincoln in his bitter struggle to rise from poverty to self-made sucess in buisness and law. Lincoln the politician,who survived crushing defeat and disappointment: Lincoln the husband and father, who came to know tender love and shattering loss; Lincoln, the president,who despised slavery yet hesitated to split the Union;Lincoln, the leader who had to learn to manipulate men,command armies,and take responsibiity for the fates of millions. Lincoln, the extraordinarily complex human being,at once witty and melancholy, determined yet fatalistic, full of life yet obsessed with death, astutely pragmatic yet staunchly idealistic.Here is Lincoln as he really was and now as we come to know him for the first time. Lincoln the man not the myth.