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Honor's Voice by Douglas L. Wilson
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Honor's Voice

by Douglas L. Wilson

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The author seeks to trace the roots of Lincoln's character and perhaps the sources of his later policies by examining the events of his early adulthood through the recollections of contemporaries collected by previous biographers, adding newly discovered or released documents that suggest new interpretations of Lincoln's life.
Substance: The information itself is interesting, primarily because so little of it has been presented in the standard histories and biographies used in schools in America. Nothing is particularly earth-shaking except to a fanatic Lincoln supporter of the No-Blemishes cult.
Style: The author rambles. He breaks the chronological narrative into topical issues, which promotes confusion about exactly where certain events fall in the time-line, and then within the topical sections indulges in frustratingly inept back-stitching and pre-cursion. I'm okay with the topical structure, but the jumping around between sources and events is hard to follow. The book feels padded as a result. Also, even though the author is introducing new material or new insights into old material in an interesting fashion, he obscures his argument by placing too much reliance on the reader's memory of names and sources. ( )
  librisissimo | Aug 27, 2013 |
3134. Honor's Voice / The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln, by Douglas L. Wilson. (read Dec 4, 1998) This book studies in great detail Lincoln's life from 1831 to the time he married, Oct.5, 1842. It had more minutiae than I wanted to know. It finds more flaws in Lincoln in this period than we usually hear about. I decided the book was not worth reading for me. ( )
  Schmerguls | Dec 9, 2007 |
Hands down, this is one of the best (if not the best) Lincoln books I've read. Wilson takes documents that researchers have had for years (although some have been found fairly recently) and puts them together like a puzzle and discovers what REALLY happened to Lincoln during his formative years. Do you think you know how the Lincoln/Todd relationship developed? Well, you probably don't unless you have read this book. Do you think you know all about his duel. Nope. What about that wrestlin' match with the Clary's Grove boys? Nope. This book looks at these and other events in minute detail, looking at all available evidence to understand what really happened. This book rightly won the Lincoln prize. If any future biography of Lincoln fails to use this book when discussing Lincoln's early years, then that biography will not be worth reading. This book is that important. Highly highly recommended. ( )
  estamm | Nov 28, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067940788X, Hardcover)

Abraham Lincoln's remarkable emergence from the rural Midwest and his rise to the presidency have been the stuff of romance and legend. But as Douglas L. Wilson shows us in Honor's Voice, Lincoln's transformation was not one long triumphal march, but a process that was more than once seriously derailed. There were times, in his journey from storekeeper and mill operator to lawyer and member of the Illinois state legislature, when Lincoln lost his nerve and self-confidence - on at least two occasions he became so despondent as to appear suicidal - and when his acute emotional vulnerabilities were exposed.

Focusing on the crucial years between 1831 and 1842, Wilson's skillful analysis of the testimonies and writings of Lincoln's contemporaries reveals the individual behind the legends. We see Lincoln as a boy: not the dutiful son studying by firelight, but the stubborn rebel determined to make something of himself. We see him as a young man: not the ascendant statesman, but the canny local politician who was renowned for his talents in wrestling and storytelling (as well as for his extensive store of off-color jokes). Wilson also reconstructs Lincoln's frequently anguished personal life: his religious skepticism, recurrent bouts of depression, and difficult relationships with women - from Ann Rutledge to Mary Owens to Mary Todd.

Meticulously researched and well written, this is a fascinating book that makes us reexamine our ideas about one of the icons of American history.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:28 -0400)

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