As the nation was moving apart, he was coming together.
A magisterial new biography fails to crack the mystery of America’s greatest general.
Sidney Blumenthal’s elegant chronicle of Abraham Lincoln’s political apprenticeship
The first session of the U.S. Congress was as bitter and riven by divisions—over ideology, taxes, federal versus state power, the role of “big money,” flexible versus strict interpretation of the Constitution—as the 114th Congress. The difference is, we can be proud of the first.
Which is why Joshua Wolf Shenk’s Lincoln’s Melancholy should normally send us reaching for our hats and coats. Of all of our presidents, Abraham Lincoln was clearly the most psychologically tortured and the one who wore it most plainly on his sleeve. His law partner, William Henry Herndon, once said that “melancholy” dripped from Lincoln,… Read more »