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Lincoln in the World: The Making of a…

Lincoln in the World: The Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American… (2013)

by Kevin Peraino

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12930139,917 (3.97)10



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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Did not find this to be a compelling read. The information tendered was luke warm. Some of the portrayals of peripheral players were of interest but over all, not a page turner. ( )
  Whiskey3pa | Mar 26, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A very interesting and unique look at Lincoln and other important figures on the world stage - Palmerston, Napoleon III, and Marx, especially. Because it orders its chapters and subjects by people in relation to Lincoln, it is not a true linear biography. And it does become a bit repetitive as it tries to flush out the background of both the other figures and the issues between them and Lincoln. Otherwise, though, this is an interesting way to understand Lincoln and world figures.
  plumdog28 | Sep 7, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Lincoln in the World: The Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power
By Kevin Peraino

“There can be no new ‘Lincoln’ stories,’” one of Abraham Lincoln’s former secretaries is said to have written, (as) “the stories are all told.” Although the secretary may have underestimated by about 16,000 books, it is reasonable to ask, “Does the world need another volume on the Illinoisan who rose to power and worked to preserve the Union in the mid 1800’s?” In the estimation of this reviewer, Kevin Peraino has made a powerful argument that indeed there is an aspect of Abraham Lincoln that has been overlooked, namely, his foreign policy. “Lincoln in the World: The Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power” fills that void admirably.

Although Lincoln was “neither well bred nor well connected internationally,” the author writes, “(Lincoln) should be considered as one of America’s seminal foreign-policy presidents.” This is quite a claim, in light of the fact that the main subject of the overwhelming majority of books that have been written about the Railsplitter from Springfield focus on his domestic policy. Peraino searched the unpublished archives of previous Lincoln biographers as well as the archives of even minor diplomatic clerks which provide the bulk of the material used to support the thesis of Lincoln as foreign policy expert.

The book is divided into six chapters; each one covering significant foreign policy issues that arose during Lincoln’s time in the House of Representatives and the White House. From the dispute with his law partner William Herndon over the Mexican War to the way Lincoln dealt with a meddling Napoleon, the author contends that although Lincoln was no “plaster Richelieu,” he can be a “worthy model for students of foreign affairs.”

Lincoln’s debate with Herndon over President Polk's invasion of Mexico is helpful today; the dovish Lincoln telling the hawkish Herndon that “no one man” could launch a war, and that Herndon’s argument, “destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.” Timely, in that as of the writing of this review, the debate again grips our nation as to whether a President has the authority to unilaterally attack another nation.

That Lincoln had the ability to endure scorn and reproach when in the best interest of the Union, comes out in his dealings with his chief diplomat, William Seward. Even in the light of Sewards baffling recommendation to Lincoln to expand the war to other nations, Lincoln dealt with it privately, rather than publicize the exchange.

The chapters on Lincoln’s dealings with Palmerston and Napoleon give an important glimpse into the man devoted to preserving the Union.

The chapter on Lincoln’s relationship to Marx was unfortunate; as the two men seemed to linked only by their shared desire to see the Confederacy be defeated. Although the author does draw some interesting parallels, it strikes this reviewer that it requires too much literary gymnastics to make the connection, as the author at one point himself seems to concede.

For those who consider themselves students of the Civil War and even for those who are looking to expand their knowledge of the man Abraham Lincoln, this book would be a worthy addition to their library.
  Zhamalan | Aug 4, 2015 |
I love any book about Abraham Lincoln! He is such a rich character in American history. This book was well researched and well written. If you are a fan or would like to know more about Lincoln, then check this book out!

**I received this book from Goodreads Member Giveaway. The opinion is solely my own.** ( )
  HeatherMS | May 3, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Lincoln in the world is a new take on the traditional Lincoln books I've read in the past. I found it refreshing to think about his interaction with foreign affairs in more depth. I like the format of the incidents revealed in the book. Rather than provide an all encompassing history of Lincoln's foreign relations, the author provides specific incidents in-depth which makes this an enjoyable and enlightening read. ( )
  BAP1012 | Mar 28, 2015 |
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If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibilty of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest guided by justice shall counsel.
--George Washington, 1796
Westward the star of empire takes its way;
The girls link-on to Lincoln, as their mothers did to Clay.
Lincoln campaign banner, 1858
To my parents,
Sam and Donna Peraino
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Prologue: In the cold, dim balcony of Ford's Theatre, Mary Lincoln rested a hand on her husband's knee, then huddled closer to his side.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307887200, Hardcover)

A captivating look at how Abraham Lincoln evolved into one of our seminal foreign-policy presidents—and helped point the way to America’s rise to world power.
This is the story of one of the most breathtaking feats in the annals of American foreign policy—performed by one of the most unlikely figures. Abraham Lincoln is not often remembered as a great foreign-policy president. He had never traveled overseas and spoke no foreign languages. And yet, during the Civil War, Lincoln and his team skillfully managed to stare down the Continent’s great powers—deftly avoiding European intervention on the side of the Confederacy. In the process, the United States emerged as a world power in its own right.  
Engaging, insightful, and highly original, Lincoln in the World is a tale set at the intersection of personal character and national power. The narrative focuses tightly on five distinct, intensely human conflicts that helped define Lincoln’s approach to foreign affairs—from his debate, as a young congressman, with his law partner over the conduct of the Mexican War, to his deadlock with Napoleon III over the French occupation of Mexico. Bursting with colorful characters like Lincoln’s bowie-knife-wielding minister to Russia, Cassius Marcellus Clay; the cunning French empress, Eugénie; and the hapless Mexican monarch Maximilian—Lincoln in the World draws a finely wrought portrait of a president and his team at the dawn of American power.
In the Age of Lincoln, we see shadows of our own world. The international arena in the 1860s could be a merciless moral vacuum. Lincoln’s times demanded the cold, realistic pursuit of national interest, and, in important ways, resembled our own increasingly multipolar world. And yet, like ours, Lincoln’s era was also an information age, a period of rapid globalization. Steamships, telegraph wires, and proliferating new media were transforming the world. Global influence required the use of “soft power” as well as hard.
Anchored by meticulous research into overlooked archives, Lincoln in the World reveals the sixteenth president to be one of America’s indispensable diplomats—and a key architect of America’s emergence as a global superpower. Much has been written about how Lincoln saved the Union, but Lincoln in the World highlights the lesser-known—yet equally vital—role he played on the world stage during those tumultuous years of war and division.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:58 -0400)

A study of the sixteenth president's evolution as a foreign policy leader explores his role in America's rise to a world power, analyzing six distinct episodes that defined his foreign policy stance and enabled him to maintain a careful balance during the war years.… (more)

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