And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle

Books on Tape Oct. 2022. 18 hrs. ISBN 9780593632888. $95. BIOG
Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Meacham’s (His Truth Is Marching On) biography of Abraham Lincoln centers on Lincoln’s ability to grow and change as a human being while maintaining faith in his country and his religious beliefs. Narrating his own work, Meacham briefly covers Lincoln’s early years, showing how his childhood influenced his thoughts about enslavement and secession. He offers descriptions of Lincoln’s political career, the many elections he did not win, and his election to the presidency. As president of a country on the brink of implosion, Lincoln made numerous attempts to avoid war with the South, offering compensation for individuals freed from enslavement, investigating deportation of enslaved people to places outside the U.S., and even offering to allow Southern states to maintain the horrific practice within their borders. Lincoln’s views on emancipation evolved over time, governed by his desire to promote justice, mercy, and honor. Meacham’s sonorous voice and deliberate pacing make for an appealing and captivating listen.
VERDICT This book provides a new lens through which to understand Lincoln’s motivations and the issues that modified his worldview. Lincoln aficionados, Civil War buffs, and students alike should enjoy.
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