- Retail Price:
FREE Shipping for Club Members
What is a Bargain?
- [-] Other Available FormatsOur PriceNew & Used MarketplacePresident Lincoln (Audio Compact Disc - Unabridged)
Publisher: Tantor Media Inc$49.99
In his acclaimed book "Lincoln's Virtues," Miller explored Abraham Lincoln's intellectual and moral development. Now he completes his "ethical biography," showing the amiable and inexperienced backcountry politician transformed into an oath-bound head of state.
- ISBN-13: 9781400041039
- ISBN-10: 1400041031
- Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
- Publish Date: February 2008
- Page Count: 497
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 45.
- Review Date: 2007-12-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Subtle and nuanced, this study is something of a sequel to Miller's Lincoln's Virtues. Here he examines Honest Abe's moral and intellectual life while in the White House, prosecuting a bloody war. Miller finds that early in his presidency, Lincoln balanced two strong ethical imperatives—his duty to preserve the union and his determination not to fire the first shots. Of course, Miller also addresses that other great moral challenge: slavery. In short, says Miller, Lincoln believed slavery was “not only profoundly wrong but profoundly wrong specifically as measured by this nation's moral essence,” and he used a terrific amount of political savvy to push through emancipation. But more original is Miller's discussion of what Lincoln thought was at stake in the war. Through a close reading of the president's papers, Miller persuasively argues that Lincoln believed secession would not merely “diminish” or “damage” the United States but would destroy it. That, in turn, was an issue of global import, for if the American experiment failed, free government would not be secure anywhere. Miller has given us one of the most insightful accounts of Lincoln published in recent years. (Feb. 5)
The virtues of Lincoln as president
In the widely praised Lincoln's Virtues, historian William Lee Miller explored Abraham Lincoln's moral choices during his ascension to power. Miller's splendid new book, President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman, is about, as he says, "statesmanship and moral choice in the American presidency, through an examination of the most remarkable occupant of that office."
Miller notes that Lincoln received the nomination for president due solely to his "effective presentation of the moral-political argument for the Republican position." He brought two contrasting qualities to the presidency"profound clarity and coercive action"that Miller views as coming from the same root, "a moral indignation that saw the immense impact on human life of these decisions and events." Among other attributes, Lincoln's life experience led him to develop "intellectual and moral self-confidence . . . and an unusual sympathy for those in distress."
This meant using deft political and military strategy that, depending on the issue at hand, alienated, at least temporarily, his own supporters. It meant, for example, that he refused to accept the views or actions of such national heroes as Gen. Winfield Scott, who saw no alternative but to surrender at Fort Sumter, or Gen. John McClellan, who had repeatedly failed to act as directed. Gen. John C. Fremont's declaration of instant emancipation of slaves belonging to disloyal Missourians was problematic because Freemont failed to consider its effect on Kentucky's position on secession.
Miller strongly disagrees with those who see the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation as the only morally significant aspect of the Civil War. Rather than a power-political struggle before that, he says, Lincoln saw "an undertaking with vast and universal moral significanceshowing that free, popular, constitutional government could maintain itself, a project that, as Lincoln said, goes down about as deep as anything."
This rich and rewarding book should be enjoyed by all those interested in Lincoln or the presidency in general.