Abraham Lincoln/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Abraham Lincoln.
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  • Beveridge, Albert J. Abraham Lincoln: 1809-1858 (1928). 2 vol. to 1858; notable for strong, unbiased political coverage online edition
  • Carwardine, Richard. Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power (2003), prize winning
  • Donald, David Herbert. Lincoln (1999) The most useful scholarly biography. excerpt and text search
  • Gienapp, William E. Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography (2002), short bio by scholar, online edition
  • Guelzo, Allen C. Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (1999) online edition
  • Harris William C. Lincoln's Rise to the Presidency (2007) conservative author argues Lincoln was basically conservative excerpt and text search
  • Nicolay, John George and John Hay. Abraham Lincoln: a History (1890); online at Volume 1 and Volume 2 vol 6 10 volumes in all; highly detailed narrative of era written by Lincoln's top aides
  • Luthin, Reinhard H. The Real Abraham Lincoln (1960), emphasis on politics
  • Neely, Mark E. The Abraham Lincoln Encyclopedia (1984), detailed articles on many men and movements associated with AL
  • Neely, Mark E. The Last Best Hope of Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America (1993), Pulitzer prize winning author
  • Oates, Stephen B. With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln (1994) excerpt and text search
  • Randall, James G. Lincoln the President (4 vol., 1945–55; reprint 2000.) by prize winning scholar
  • Sandburg, Carl. Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years (2 vol 1926); The War Years (4 vol 1939). Pulitzer Prize winning biography by famous poet vol. 1 online vol 2 online
  • Thomas, Benjamin P. Abraham Lincoln: A Biography (1952; 2nd ed. 2008) online edition

Specialty topics


  • Angle, Paul M., Here I Have Lived: A History of Lincoln's Springfield, 1821-1865, (1935) online edition
  • Baker, Jean H. Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography (1987) online edition
  • Boritt, Gabor S. Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream (1994). Lincoln's economic theory and policies
  • Fehrenbacher, Don E. "The Origins and Purpose of Lincoln's "House-Divided" Speech," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 46, No. 4. (Mar., 1960), pp. 615-643. in JSTOR
  • Foner, Eric. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (1970) intellectual history of different prewar faction's in AL's party
  • Holzer, Harold. Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President (2004). excerpt and text search
  • Jaffa, Harry V. A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War (2000) ISBN 0-8476-9952-8.
  • Jaffa, Harry V. Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1999) excerpt and text search
  • Nevins, Allan. Ordeal of the Union 8-volume (1947-1971). 1. Fruits of Manifest Destiny, 1847-1852; 2. A House Dividing, 1852-1857; 3. Douglas, Buchanan, and Party Chaos, 1857-1859. most thorough coverage of the era, with Lincoln at center
  • Schneider, Thomas E. Lincoln's Defense of Politics: The Public Man and His Opponents in the Crisis over Slavery. U. of Missouri Press, 2006. 224 pp.
  • Shenk, Joshua Wolf. Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness (2005). excerpt and text search


Lincoln Administration

  • Burton, Orville Vernon. The Age of Lincoln (2007), sweeping history from 1840 to 1900. excerpt and text search
  • Carwardine, Richard. "Abraham Lincoln and the Fourth Estate: the White House and the Press During the American Civil War." American Nineteenth Century History 2006 7(1): 1-27. Issn: 1466-4658 Fulltext: Ebsco
  • Ford, Lacy K., ed. A Companion to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Blackwell, 2005. 518 pp.
  • Hendrick, Burton J. Lincoln's War Cabinet (1946) online edition
  • Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (2005)
  • McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (1988). Pulitzer Prize winner surveys all aspects of the war online edition
  • Marvel, William. Mr. Lincoln Goes to War (2006), neo-Confederate attack that blames Lincoln for defeating the Confederacy and freeing the slaves by stretching the Constitution
  • Nevins, Allan. Ordeal of the Union 8-volume (1947-1971). vol 5. The Improvised War, 1861-1862; 6. War Becomes Revolution, 1862-1863; 7. The Organized War, 1863-1864; 8. The Organized War to Victory, 1864-1865; most thorough coverage of the era, with Lincoln at center
  • Paludan, Philip S. The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln (1994), thorough treatment of Lincoln's administration
  • Richardson, Heather Cox. The Greatest Nation of the Earth: Republican Economic Policies during the Civil War (1997)
  • Williams, Kenneth P. Lincoln Finds a General: A Military Study of the Civil War (1959) 5 volumes on Lincoln's control of the war


  • Belz, Herman. Abraham Lincoln, Constitutionalism, and Equal Rights in the Civil War Era (1998)
  • Belz, Herman. "Lincoln's Construction of the Executive Power in the Secession Crisis," Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 27.1 (2006):online edition
  • Boritt, Gabor S. ed. Lincoln the War President (1994)
  • Briggs, John Channing. Lincoln's Speeches Reconsidered. Johns Hopkins U. Pr., 2005. 370 pp.
  • Bruce, Robert V. Lincoln and the Tools of War (1956) on weapons development during the war online edition
  • Donald, David Herbert. Lincoln Reconsidered: Essays on the Civil War Era (1960)
  • Donald, David Herbert. We Are Lincoln Men: Abraham Lincoln and His Friends Simon & Schuster, (2003).
  • Goodwin, Doris Kearns. "'My Whole Soul Is in It.'" Smithsonian 2006 36(10): 48+ Fulltext: at Ebsco, on the writing of the Emancipation Proclamation
  • Harris, William C. With Charity for All: Lincoln and the Restoration of the Union (1997). AL's plans for Reconstruction
  • Hofstadter, Richard. The American Political Tradition: And the Men Who Made It (1948) ch 5: "Abraham Lincoln and the Self-Made Myth."
  • McPherson, James M. Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution (1992) excerpt and text search
  • Neely, Mark E. The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties (1992). Pulitzer Prize winner. online version; excerpt and text search
  • Perret, Geoffrey. Lincoln's War: The Untold Story of America's Greatest President as Commander in Chief (2004). well-written but has many factual errors and questionable interpretations excerpt and text search
  • Polsky, Andrew J. "'Mr. Lincoln's Army' Revisited: Partisanship, Institutional Position, and Union Army Command, 1861–1865." Studies in American Political Development (2002), 16: 176-207
  • Potter, David M. Lincoln and His Party in the Secession Crisis (1942)
  • Randall, James G. Lincoln the Liberal Statesman (1947).
  • Schmitz, Neil. "Refiguring Lincoln: Speeches and Writings, 1832-1865," American Literary History, Vol. 6, No. 1. (Spring, 1994), pp. 103-118 in JSTOR
  • Striner, Richard. Father Abraham: Lincoln's Relentless Struggle to End Slavery. (2006). 295 pp. excerpt and text search
  • White Jr., Ronald C. Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural (2001) Pp. 234. excerpt and text search
  • Williams, T. Harry. Lincoln and His Generals (1967).
  • Wills, Garry. Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America (1993) excerpt and text search
  • Wilson, Douglas L. Honor's Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln by (1999).
  • Wilson, Douglas L. Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words (2007)

Historiography and Memory

  • Boritt, Gabor S., ed. The Historian's Lincoln U. of Illinois Press, 1988, historiography excerpt and text search
  • Braeman, John. "Albert J. Beveridge and Demythologizing Lincoln." Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 2004 25(2): 1-24. Issn: 0898-4212 Fulltext: online in History Cooperative. Albert J. Beveridge (1862-1927), former US senator from Indiana began work on a multivolume biography of Abraham Lincoln in 1922. His goal was to demolish the myths surrounding Lincoln and present the facts. Beveridge tended to sympathize with the South and admire Stephen A. Douglas, as well as rely on information collected by William H. Herndon. But, he did more intense research on Lincoln's pre-presidential career than any previous biographer. Beveridge died as he reached 1858.
  • Cross, Roland R. "Edgar Lee Masters's Peculiar Biographies of Abraham Lincoln and Vachel Lindsay." Journal of Illinois History 2004 7(4): 281-296. Issn: 1522-0532. The poet Edgar Lee Masters in 1931 wrote the only hostile biography of Lincoln; he debunks the "myth of Honest Abe." In Masters's view, Lincoln's actions as president was a corruption of true American ideals. The theme has occasionally resurfaced among neoconfederates and extreme libertarians who tolerate slavery but not strong government.
  • Fields, Kevin. "Historiographical Trends and Interpretations of President Abraham Lincoln's Reputation and the Morality on the Slavery Question: Part I and II." Lincoln Herald Lincoln Herald 2004 106(4): 150-167 and 2005 107(1): 11-30. Issn: 0024-3671; Part 1 siscusses William Herndon, John Nicolay, and John Hay.; Part 2 notes the civil rights movement prompted historians to reevaluate Lincoln's attitude toward race and emancipation. Many continued to portray him as the pragmatic, essentially conservative, "reluctant emancipator." However, by the 1980s a postrevisionist consensus had emerged, which emphasized the evolution of Lincoln's attitudes and asserted that freedom for black slaves, and not merely the preservation of the Union, became one of his key objectives.
  • McPherson, James M. "No Peace Without Victory, 1861-1865." American Historical Review 2004 109(1): Xvi, 1-18. Issn: 0002-8762 Fulltext: in History Cooperative and Ebsco.
  • Peterson, Merrill D. Lincoln in American Memory (1994). how Lincoln was remembered after 1865
  • Schwartz, Barry and Schuman, Howard. "History, Commemoration, and Belief: Abraham Lincoln in American Memory, 1945-2001." American Sociological Review 2005 70(2): 183-203. Issn: 0003-1224 Fulltext: in Ingenta
  • Trefousse, Hans L. "First among Equals?" Abraham Lincoln's Reputation during His Administration. 2005. 199 pp.

Primary sources

  • Basler, Roy P. ed. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 9 vol Rutgers Univ. Press 1953–55
  • Basler, Roy P. ed. Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings, (1946) online edition
  • Lincoln, Abraham. Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 2 vol Library of America edition, 1989

Memoirs and interviews