The best books with fascinating information about Abraham Lincoln

Who am I?

From the age of ten, I became enthralled with Abraham Lincoln. The story of his life captured my imagination. I had to know more about him. Through the decades I searched out little-known stories, eyewitness accounts, and letters thought lost. Becoming fascinated how he went from an almost illiterate young man to becoming the person we know from history; I went to the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield Illinois and to where he lived in New Salem to do additional research. After that, I started writing a three-year labor of love: my own Lincoln book, primarily focusing on one key period of his life. 


I wrote...

Young Lincoln of New Salem

By Sam Rawlins,

Book cover of Young Lincoln of New Salem

What is my book about?

Abraham Lincoln’s life on the rugged Illinois frontier from 1831 to 1837 is explored here. Between the ages of 22 to 28, he went from store clerk to Postmaster and Captain of militia in the Black Hawk War, while living in the primitive village of New Salem, Illinois.

Surviving every setback life could throw at him, this story gets you into Lincoln’s heart and soul. Taking him on his own spiritual journey, the love and heartbreak he experienced during those crucial years haunted and inspired him through the rest of his life.

The books I picked & why

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The Day Lincoln Was Shot

By Jim Bishop,

Book cover of The Day Lincoln Was Shot

Why this book?

The last day of Lincoln’s life, brilliantly told within the structure of each hour becoming a chapter of the book. Bishop’s passion for the subject matter led him to research the day for 25 years, from 1930 to the book’s release in 1955.

The events of April 14, 1865 are told in a clear and concise style that will hold your attention throughout, even though you know what will happen. I felt the atmosphere of Washington City, becoming totally immersed in the narrative as the story progressed. Other readers have thought so, too, as this book has sold over 3 million copies.

The Day Lincoln Was Shot

By Jim Bishop,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Day Lincoln Was Shot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Day Lincoln Was Shot is a gripping, minute-by-minute account of April 14, 1865: the day President Abraham Lincoln was tragically assassinated.

It chronicles the movements of Lincoln and his assassin John Wilkes Booth during every movement of that fateful day. Author and journalist Jim Bishop has fashioned an unforgettable tale of tragedy, more gripping than fiction, more alive than any newspaper account.
 
First published in 1955, The Day Lincoln Was Shot was a huge bestseller, and in 1998 it was made into a TNT movie, with Rob Morrow as Booth.
 


Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness

By Joshua Wolf Shenk,

Book cover of Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness

Why this book?

This is an insightful examination of Lincoln’s struggles with depression and thoughts of suicide. The author has done a masterful job of exploring Lincoln’s bouts of sadness, which began in his childhood and continued throughout his life, often closing in on him. My own research revealed much the same: from a cruel father with no real understanding of his son to the tragic loss of those he loved. It was always in the back of his mind, eating at him.

The National Mental Health Association and others have praised this book. If you want to get inside Lincoln, read this wonderful study of the man.

Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness

By Joshua Wolf Shenk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lincoln's Melancholy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A nuanced psychological portrait of Abraham Lincoln that finds his legendary political strengths rooted in his most personal struggles.

Giving shape to the deep depression that pervaded Lincoln's adult life, Joshua Wolf Shenk’s Lincoln’s Melancholy reveals how this illness influenced both the President’s character and his leadership. Mired in personal suffering as a young man, Lincoln forged a hard path toward mental health. Shenk draws on seven years of research from historical record, interviews with Lincoln scholars, and contemporary research on depression to understand the nature of Lincoln’s unhappiness. In the process, Shenk discovers that the President’s coping strategies—among them,…


The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln

By Anthony Gross,

Book cover of The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln

Why this book?

Reading this collection of stories and sayings from (or about) Lincoln, it’s easy to see what an incredible person he was. From his early years on the frontier through his time as a lawyer, on to his presidential years, his personality is revealed through his observations. Lincoln’s storytelling contained a great deal of wit and wisdom for his listeners. This book is a history lover’s dream, making one realize how much this country lost when an assassin’s bullet cut him down.

The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln

By Anthony Gross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From The Introduction:
For many years the editor has collected and studied the literature relating to Abraham Lincoln, and his interest has led to the preparation of a book which he has endeavored to make both authentic and significant. His purpose has been to select stories which embody truth and point, and to arrange them, as far as possible, consecutively, so that they may furnish continuous illustrations of the various stages of Lincoln's wonderful career. Various dubious and often maudlin tales which have been attributed to Lincoln have been omitted. While it would be impossible to claim that any collection…


Lincoln As I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes, and Revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies

By Harold Holzer (editor),

Book cover of Lincoln As I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes, and Revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies

Why this book?

An amazing collection of remembrances from both those who loved and hated him. I managed to read all of these first-hand recollections in one evening, feeling like I got to know the essence of Lincoln. Several who met him said, “No man living has a kinder heart.” From those who knew him best, you get the feeling that Lincoln was a sensitive, sincere man who never really knew one as a stranger. Harold Holzer, the author, did a brilliant job compiling and editing this book.

Lincoln As I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes, and Revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies

By Harold Holzer (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lincoln As I Knew Him as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forget what you think you know about Abraham Lincoln. Yes, he was a brilliant orator, a shrewd politician, and a determined leader who guided us through the bloodiest war in American history. But he also was a terrible dresser, rarely bothered to comb his hair, annoyed his colleagues by constantly reading out loud, loved raunchy stories, and let his kids run all over him.

Author and Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer sifted through nineteenth-century letters, diary entries, books, and speeches written by people who knew Lincoln and offers up the real skinny on the man who was arguably America's greatest president.…


The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln

By Michael Burlingame,

Book cover of The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln

Why this book?

A carefully researched portrait of Lincoln’s inner world and private life is explored by the author in a brilliant book. The Lincoln that emerges from this volume is someone whose marriage to Mary Todd was, according to William Herndon, “a burning scorching hell.” The inner turmoil Lincoln suffered during his life would have broken a lesser man. To fully appreciate Lincoln, this is a must-read.

The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln

By Michael Burlingame,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published to a flurry of praise--and consternation--from Lincoln scholars, Burlingame's book takes a hard and unsentimental look at, among other things, Abraham Lincoln's excruciating yet fruitful midlife crisis, his marriage to a dishonest woman who often embarrassed and sometimes physically abused him, his estrangement from his father, his explosive temper, and his aversion to women.


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