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The 25 Best Books about Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln by Ingri D'Ulaire and Edgar ParinAt least 15,000 books have been written about Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. If you wish to learn about the man who led the North during the American Civil War and issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 then you are not going to be restricted by choice. (AbeBooks alone has more than 67,000 copies of books with ‘Abraham Lincoln’ in the title).

No-one knows exactly how many books have been written about Honest Abe but in 2012 Ford’s Theater Centre for Education and Leadership in Washington DC constructed a 34-foot pillar of unique titles about Lincoln and it contained more than 15,000 books.

Books have been written about his childhood, his politics, his wartime leadership, his married life, his death, his speeches, his generals and admirals, his writing, his mental health and his legal career. There are biographies, history books, picture books, children’s books and fictional novels based on his life.

In recent years, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin has received a great deal of attention. In 2008, the then-Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama declared, if elected, he would want “a team of rivals” in his Cabinet. “I don’t want to have people who just agree with me. I want people who are continually pushing me out of my comfort zone,” he told Time Magazine. Obama, a keen reader, acknowledged the influence of Goodwin’s book several times as he campaigned to become president.

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald, published in 1996, is also widely acknowledged as one of the better biographies of the man. Manhunt by James L. Swanson is a very readable book about the murder of the president, the motives of his killer John Wilkes Booth and the desperate manhunt over 12 days.

If you want to completely shake up history, then Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith might appeal (and that’s fiction by the way). Gore Vidal also wrote an historical novel about the man.

The Best Books about Abraham Lincoln

Uncollected Works of Abraham Lincoln by Rufus Wilson

Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman

Lincoln: A Photobiography
Russell Freedman
Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America by Garry Wills

Abraham Lincoln (multiple vols/editions) by Carl Sandburg

Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James M. McPherson

The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln by CA Tripp & Lewis Gannett

The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln
CA Tripp & Lewis Gannett
Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk

Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald

David Herbert Donald
The Last Best Hope of Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America by Mark E. Neely

Willie Speaks Out: The Psychic World of Abraham Lincoln by Elliott V. Fleckles

Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths by Stephen B. Oates

Honor's Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln by Douglas L. Wilson

We Are Lincoln Men: Abraham Lincoln and His Friends by David Herbert Donald

Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President by Harold Holzer

Abraham Lincoln by Lord Charnwood

Abraham Lincoln
Lord Charnwood
Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass & Abraham Lincoln by John Stauffer

Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War by Tom Wheeler

Lincoln and his Generals by T. Harry Williams

Lincoln and his Generals
T. Harry Williams
Lincoln and His Admirals by Craig L. Symonds

Lincoln and His Admirals
Craig L. Symonds
The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage by Daniel Mark Epstein

Stealing Lincoln's Body by Thomas J. Craughwell

Stealing Lincoln’s Body
Thomas J. Craughwell

Posted by on January 10, 2013.

Categories: history, lists, politics

2 Responses

  1. thank you sir!!!!

    by SUMIT GOUR on Oct 21, 2014 at 5:47 am

  2. Very nice collection. It’s hard to argue with the selected works.

    However, I think I would have included “Herdon’s Lincoln,” and perhaps my own humble work “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones.”

    by Terry Sprouse on Nov 18, 2014 at 8:18 pm

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