100 books like The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln

By Anthony Gross,

Here are 100 books that The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln fans have personally recommended if you like The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Day Lincoln Was Shot

Sam Rawlins Author Of Young Lincoln of New Salem

From my list on fascinating information about Abraham Lincoln.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Sam's book list on fascinating information about Abraham Lincoln

Sam Rawlins Why did Sam love 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.

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.
 


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

Sam Rawlins Author Of Young Lincoln of New Salem

From my list on fascinating information about Abraham Lincoln.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Sam's book list on fascinating information about Abraham Lincoln

Sam Rawlins Why did Sam love 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.

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,…


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

Sam Rawlins Author Of Young Lincoln of New Salem

From my list on fascinating information about Abraham Lincoln.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Sam's book list on fascinating information about Abraham Lincoln

Sam Rawlins Why did Sam love 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.

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.…


Book cover of The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln

Sam Rawlins Author Of Young Lincoln of New Salem

From my list on fascinating information about Abraham Lincoln.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Sam's book list on fascinating information about Abraham Lincoln

Sam Rawlins Why did Sam love 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.

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.


Book cover of Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington

Sylvia Shults Author Of Spirits of Christmas: The Dark Side of the Holidays

From my list on nonfiction books that read like a novel.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sylvia Shults is a librarian by day, a ghost hunter by night, and the “hostess with the mostest ghosties” of the Lights Out podcast. During her twenty-plus-year career in libraries, she has managed to smuggle enough words out in her pockets to put together several books of her own, including 44 Years in Darkness, Fractured Spirits: Hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital, and Spirits of Christmas. She sits in dark, spooky places so you don't have to, and shares her experiences of her brushes with the other side of the Veil.

Sylvia's book list on nonfiction books that read like a novel

Sylvia Shults Why did Sylvia love this book?

This book rocked my world. Imagine this: Congress is meeting to ratify the election of a new president. But half the country doesn't want the new guy; in fact, there are armed thugs wandering around the streets of Washington, making noise about insurrection. The rumors of violence are so disturbing that the police force is put on high alert, and the Vice President, carrying the election paperwork, is assigned extra security. Sound familiar? This was the situation in 1861, as Abraham Lincoln was readying himself for his trip to the Capitol to take office. The book follows his train ride there, and the writing rollicks along just like a train speeding down a track. I adored this book, and for me, it was made even more compelling because I read it about a week after the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021. As a really well-written book, filled with history…

By Ted Widmer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lincoln on the Verge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE LINCOLN FORUM BOOK PRIZE

"A Lincoln classic...superb." -The Washington Post

"A book for our time."-Doris Kearns Goodwin

Lincoln on the Verge tells the dramatic story of America's greatest president discovering his own strength to save the Republic.

As a divided nation plunges into the deepest crisis in its history, Abraham Lincoln boards a train for Washington and his inauguration-an inauguration Southerners have vowed to prevent. Lincoln on the Verge charts these pivotal thirteen days of travel, as Lincoln discovers his power, speaks directly to the public, and sees his country up close. Drawing on new research, this…


Book cover of Lincoln

Charles B. Strozier Author Of Lincoln's Quest for Union

From my list on Abraham Lincoln from a historian and psychoanalyst.

Why am I passionate about this?

I got my first job as a professor of history in 1972 in Springfield, Illinois, at a new university there. What can you do in Springfield except work on Lincoln? The more I read, the more intrigued I became. Lincoln draws you in. His lively mind and always well-written letters, along with his brilliant and memorable speeches, are endlessly fascinating. He also had genuine integrity as a human being and as a leader in our greatest crisis as a country. It is hard not to be inspired by Abraham Lincoln.

Charles' book list on Abraham Lincoln from a historian and psychoanalyst

Charles B. Strozier Why did Charles love this book?

Donald’s one-volume biography of Lincoln remains the standard in the field. I knew David Donald and found him always generous. From his perch at Harvard, Donald dominated the Lincoln field for many decades. His biography of Lincoln stands head and shoulders above a host of more recent studies. In fact, it surprises me people keep writing biographies of Lincoln that go over the same ground repeatedly. Donald brings Lincoln alive with the authority that comes from a lifetime of reflection and writing on the Civil War and our greatest president.

By David Herbert Donald,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lincoln as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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,…


Book cover of Lincoln's Sons

Jason Emerson Author Of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln

From my list on presidential children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an independent historian and journalist who has spent over 25 years studying Abraham Lincoln and his family. My fascination with the Great Emancipator began when I worked first as a student volunteer and then as a park ranger at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As I writer who has always loved history, I decided I should start writing about history. I've authored or edited eight books (seven on Lincoln and his family) as well as numerous articles. My big break came when I discovered a cache of Mary Lincoln’s missing letters, written during her time in a sanitarium in 1875, which had been missing for nearly 100 years.

Jason's book list on presidential children

Jason Emerson Why did Jason love this book?

Abraham Lincoln may be the most written about president (and person) in American history, but his children have been relatively relegated to innocuous side characters who all have a few good stories about them. Lincoln’s Sons by Ruth Painter Randall is still the go-to book for anyone interested in the Lincoln boys, as well as their relationships with their parents. In addition to their early years in Springfield and the famous antics of Willie and Tad in the White House, Randall also follows the boys after the death of their father. She explains the sad life of Tad from 1865 until his early death in 1871, and gives a full accounting of Robert’s impressive legacy as lawyer, businessman, public servant, and protector of his father’s legacy—for decades the only book to do so. There have been a few other books ostensibly about the Lincoln boys in the years since Randall’s…

By Ruth Painter Randall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

270 paged hardcover "Lincoln's Sons" by Ruth Painter Randall.


Book cover of Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers

Jonathan W. White Author Of My Day with Abe Lincoln

From my list on children’s books about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing books about Abraham Lincoln for 15 years. I also have two daughters, and I spend a lot of time at night telling bedtime stories. A couple of years ago, I decided to combine these two areas of my life by writing a Lincoln book for kids. But I didn’t want it to be another run-of-the-mill history book. So, I developed a story about a girl who travels back in time and meets a young Abe. Along the way, she learns a lot about his life. I like to tell people that everything about it is historically accurate . . . except the time travel!

Jonathan's book list on children’s books about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

Jonathan W. White Why did Jonathan love this book?

Most people don’t realize that Lincoln lived most of his adult life without a beard and that he grew his beard during the presidential campaign in 1860 after an 11-year-old girl wrote to him and suggested that he grow whiskers.

This book tells the story of how Grace Bedell encouraged him to grow a beard, how her brother teased her for writing to him, and how Lincoln stopped at her hometown in 1861 to meet her and show her his new whiskers.

This is a great story for kids to see how a young girl helped shape the image of Lincoln, an image that is recognizable to all Americans today.

By Karen B. Winnick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Abraham Lincoln was the first president of the United States to wear a beard. What gave him the idea to grow whiskers may have been a letter he received from an eleven-year-old girl named Grace Bedell. Charmingly told by Karen B. Winnick and illustrated with rich oil paintings that capture the look and feel of nineteenth-century America, here is the true story of the girl whose letter helped to make Abraham Lincoln's face one of the most famous in American history.


Book cover of Courting Mr. Lincoln

Margaret Rodenberg Author Of Finding Napoleon

From my list on famous leaders we thought we understood.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I lived in France as a youngster, museum portraits became friends. I could hear courtiers scheming in Versailles and gladiators clashing in coliseums. Naturally, decades later, when I learned Napoleon Bonaparte tried to write a novel of love and betrayal, I vowed to finish it for him. But to ghostwrite for Napoleon, I had to know him as personally as his great love Josephine did. I dove into research, translated his writing to capture his cadence, and became secretary of the Napoleonic Historical Society. Finally, on remote St. Helena Island in the ramshackle rooms where Napoleon died in exile, I found the intimate connection I demand from historical fiction.

Margaret's book list on famous leaders we thought we understood

Margaret Rodenberg Why did Margaret love this book?

Write about Abraham Lincoln’s intimate life? I wouldn’t dare, but I’m thrilled Louis Bayard did. Courting Mr. Lincoln catches America’s icon at his pivot from aw-shucks buffoon to fast-track politician. Joshua Speed, Lincoln’s roommate who’s in love with him, applies social veneer, teaching him to dress and dance, and where to rest those spidery arms during dinner. The friends’ touching love never crosses into sexual on the page. Yet, intimacy flows through Bayard’s extraordinary writing. We, too, inhabit Lincoln’s long torso, flailing elbows, and head crammed in a too-small top hat. Alas, a society matron pushes Lincoln “toward destiny,” requiring marriage with Mary Todd. Melancholy Lincoln, snared in grasping love, moves on to save our nation. Because of this book, I’ll always consider Abraham Lincoln a beautiful man.

By Louis Bayard,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Courting Mr. Lincoln as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Mary Todd meets Abraham Lincoln in Springfield in the winter of 1840, he is on no one's short list to be president. A country lawyer living above a dry goods shop, he is lacking both money and manners, and his gift for oratory surprises those who meet him. Mary, a quick, self-possessed debutante with an interest in debates and elections, at first finds him an enigma. "I can only hope," she tells his roommate, the handsome, charming Joshua Speed, "that his waters being so very still, they also run deep."

It's not long, though, before she sees the Lincoln…


Book cover of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

M. A. Maddock Author Of The Sixth Amulet

From my list on blood-curdling, time travelling adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi, my name is Miriam, and I write—wait for it—historical fantasy fiction. I know, a bit of a mouthful. And, because of my love for Scotland, I decided to set my novel there, in the beautiful village of Balloch, on the shores of Loch Lomond. When writing in this genre, I’m not tied or limited to what I can create. All you need is imagination! In times of crisis, as we live and struggle in the real world and are faced with hardship, it’s nice to escape from it, once in a while, whether it’s to pick up a book or watch, yes, Lord of the Rings, or whichever fantasy world takes your fancy.

M. A.'s book list on blood-curdling, time travelling adventures

M. A. Maddock Why did M. A. love this book?

This is one book where, by the end, I was absolutely convinced that Abraham Lincoln actually hunted and killed vampires, on the side. It’s cleverly written, and the photographs (actual photos) were photo-shopped, to give the story an authentic feel to it. Gifted with his legendary height, and axe (of course!) Abraham sets out, hell-bent on revenge, after discovering that his beloved mother had actually been killed by a vampire when he was a boy. The book is full of facts, giving us a history lesson on Abe Lincoln’s life, from when he was a boy until his assassination, in 1865. It also tells us of his campaign to stamp out slavery and his rise to become the sixteenth—and one of the most influential—president of the United States of America. Thoroughly enjoyable, and believable! 

By Seth Grahame-Smith,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Abraham Lincoln as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call 'Milk Sickness'. 'My baby boy ...', she whispers before dying. Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire. When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, 'henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in presidential biography, Abraham Lincoln, and the Presidents of the United States?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about presidential biography, Abraham Lincoln, and the Presidents of the United States.

Presidential Biography Explore 18 books about presidential biography
Abraham Lincoln Explore 95 books about Abraham Lincoln
The Presidents Of The United States Explore 84 books about the Presidents of the United States