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And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle
Author: Meacham, Jon
Publication Date: 10/17/2023
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER · Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Jon Meacham chronicles the life of Abraham Lincoln, charting how—and why—he confronted secession, threats to democracy, and the tragedy of slavery to expand the possibilities of America.
"In his captivating new book, Jon Meacham has given us the Lincoln for our time" —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
A President who governed a country at war with itself has much to teach us in a twenty-first-century moment of polarization and political crisis. Abraham Lincoln was president when implacable secessionists gave no quarter in a clash of visions inextricably bound up with money, power, race, identity, and faith. He was hated and hailed, excoriated and revered. In Lincoln we can see the possibilities of the presidency as well as its limitations.
"Written with wisdom and grace" (Doris Kearns Goodwin), this illuminating new portrait gives us a very human Lincoln—an imperfect man whose moral antislavery commitment was essential to the story of justice in America. Here is the Lincoln who, as a boy, was steeped in the sermons of emancipation by Baptist preachers; who insisted that slavery was a moral evil; and who sought, as he put it, to do right as God gave him light to see the right.
This book tells the story of Lincoln from his birth on the Kentucky frontier in 1809 to his leadership during the Civil War to his tragic assassination at Ford’s Theater on Good Friday 1865: his rise, his self-education through reading, his loves, his bouts of depression, his political failures, his deepening faith, and his persistent conviction that slavery must end. In a nation shaped by the courage of the enslaved of the era and by the brave witness of Black Americans of the nineteenth century, Lincoln’s story illuminates the ways and means of politics, the marshaling of power in a belligerent democracy, the durability of white supremacy in America, and the capacity of conscience to shape the maelstrom of events.