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It is easy to see why Carl Sandburg’s account of Abraham Lincoln is so beloved, since it focuses so much on Lincoln the folk hero. I enjoyed this book a lot, though its style (kind of a Thomas Wolfe rip off) got on my nerves after a while.
Two Lincoln anecdotes I highlighted, which give a good sense of the book’s tone:
“Protests of innocence often came from men plainly guilty. They reminded Lincoln of a governor who visited a state prison. The convicts one by one had the same story of innocence an
Look, there are obviously lots of Lincoln biographies out there, and I have read many of them, but after having read this book, I have concluded that the others are merely imitations of Sandburg (some of them very good imitations, certainly, and worth your time, but imitations nonetheless).
Consider that this book is a condensed version of Sandburg’s six-volume (!) biography of Lincoln, and you realize that its level of detail is merely suggestive of the detail to be found in the six-volume set.
This is a biography of Lincoln by the esteemed poet Carl Sandburg. I was born just up the road, US Route 34 (in Kewanee), from his home town of Galesburg, Illinois. Thus, I have always had a soft spot for this version of Lincoln’s life
As a poet, Sandburg’s version tends to be more epic and mythical–and less critical–in its examination of Lincoln. For all of that, the book still works well. The first part, “The Prairie Years,” recounts Lincoln’s youth and early career before he attained the pr