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Once in a while, I like to pick up a volume about Abraham Lincoln, to remind myself what an incredible leader he was during the perilous times of the Civil War. This is one of those books that illustrates Lincoln?s greatness.
Using only anecdotes and phrases by Lincoln, this small book catches Lincoln at his funniest, most somber, most tragic. Some of these vignettes are so poignant that I cried.
One thing that ran through my mind: What would the US have been like if Lincoln had lived? Having read dozens of books about the aftermath of the Civil War and the death and destruction that abounded, I think Lincoln could have bound up the nation?s wounds and helped bring both sides of the conflict to the table.
What isn?t commonly known is that thousands died AFTER the war ended. The rage had not burned out although so many had died on the battlefield. Blacks were summarily murdered by whites and vice versa. It is astonishing how many people (often women, children and the poor) died of starvation during and after the war.
This book gives the reader a look at the compassion and understanding of Lincoln. One of these amazing stories: Lincoln?s coach almost ran over a very young man ? who happened to be blind in both eyes (injured in the war). Lincoln jumped out of the coach and asked him questions; the next day 2 letters came to the hospital for the man. First, he was given a lieutenant?s commission. The second letter retired him with ¾ pay for his service!
When a Union officer referred to the Confederate wounded as ?Rebs,? Lincoln chastised him. ?Call them ?Johnny?s? ? it sounds friendlier.?
The stories are separated into several chapters: Earlier years -- Lawyer -- Local politics and the Douglas Debates -- At the White House -- At the front -- Commander-in-Chief. By doing this, the reader sees different facets of Lincoln in a variety of roles.
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