The 25 Best Books about Abraham Lincoln
At 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 Theatre 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
Lincoln: A Photobiography
Abraham Lincoln (multiple vols/editions)
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief
James M. McPherson
The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln
CA Tripp & Lewis Gannett
Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness
Joshua Wolf Shenk
Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer
James L. Swanson
David Herbert Donald
Willie Speaks Out: The Psychic World of Abraham Lincoln
Elliott V. Fleckles
Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths
Stephen B. Oates
Honor’s Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln
Douglas L. Wilson
We Are Lincoln Men: Abraham Lincoln and His Friends
David Herbert Donald
Lincoln and his Generals
T. Harry Williams
Lincoln and His Admirals
Craig L. Symonds
The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage
Daniel Mark Epstein
Stealing Lincoln’s Body
Thomas J. Craughwell