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And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the…
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And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle (2022 original; edición 2022)

por Jon Meacham (Autor)

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5701242,942 (4.54)5
"A president who governed a divided country 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. At once familiar and elusive, Lincoln tends to be seen in popular minds as the greatest of American presidents--a remote icon--or as a politician driven more by calculation than by conviction. 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"--… (más)
Miembro:jmarkparker
Título:And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle
Autores:Jon Meacham (Autor)
Información:Random House (2022), 720 pages
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Información de la obra

And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle por Jon Meacham (2022)

  1. 00
    Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President por Candice Millard (BookSpectre)
    BookSpectre: Not as in depth of James Garfield, but it delves into his humble beginnings and the progress made based on the aftermath of his assassination
  2. 00
    The Old Lion: A Novel of Theodore Roosevelt por Jeff Shaara (BookSpectre)
    BookSpectre: Maybe not as in depth but it details the entirety of Theodore Roosevelt's life until his death, but done in a way that tells a story while still detailing his life.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (siguiente | mostrar todos)
A tough one for me. This was the audiobook version of the book, read by the author himself. I was very excited about this publication when I saw it was a thing. Mr. Meacham is a favorite author of mine and Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War are what I obsess over. So when I heard that this book was coming out I thought that the man and the hour had met yet again!
I want to say that this book blew me away. I want to say that it was a unique examination of Lincoln and the times. I want to say that I couldn't stop listening. But alas, I was left wanting. I will admit that I have a pretty high bar of expectations when it comes to these two. When it was all said and done "And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle" was a good book. Not very good, great or excellent. Just good.
Mr. Meacham was a good reader, not great. His tone became monotonous at times, it is a voice that doesn't annoy nor draw the listener in with its warmth and inviting, varying tones. If I had to describe it in one word I would say it was good.
There were no new revelations, no new spin or take on the different parts of Lincoln's life or administration. No hot takes, no change of positioning, no elevation or apotheosis. This is not a hagiography or a burning in effigy either. It has not found any lost resources or utilized any resource that was previously unknown or unused. It is just a good one volume biography of our 16th president with a focus on the struggle for the freedom of the slaves and Civil Rights.
One of the things that attracts me to Mr. Meacham is that he writes very well. He did not disappoint with this publication either. His prose as usual is scholarly yet easy to read and quite digestible. He has a great ability to turn a phrase and get his point across in a seemingly effortless manner, yet I have a feeling it was all quite effortful. And I am not saying that this is a bad book and that it should not be picked up, not in the least. In fact it is Meacham's writing that makes it unique in the annals of Lincolnania.
No, "And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle" by Jon Meacham was not what I wanted. But that is on me and my expectations. So, did the man and the hour meet? Upon further reflection...they might have. Maybe, maybe it was the man, just not quite the hour... regardless it was a tough one for me.
I would give it a 3.5 stars. ( )
  Schneider | May 22, 2024 |
It is obvious that Meacham idolizes Lincoln as he describes Lincoln’s self-education, romances with women, bouts of depression, political successes and failures, and his faith. In America Lincoln tends to be seen as the greatest of American presidents. I don't disagree with this statement but in this book Meacham gives the reader a new portrait of a very human Lincoln, an imperfect man whose moral antislavery commitment, essential to the story of justice in America, began as he grew up in antislavery Baptist churches. What was surprising to me was the number of times in Lincoln's life that his friends had to watch over him for several weeks or months to prevent him from killing himself. After his first love Ann Rutledge died he was despondent and unable to work for months. When his son Willie died, he had to be watched over again. It is interesting that history tells us that Mary Todd Lincoln lost her mind after this loss. However, Abe was in worse shape. He was suicidal. I counted the number of times that he was suicidal to be 7 times during his life.

Meacham addresses Lincoln’s religious faith by stating in the Prologue:

Raised in an antislavery Baptist ethos in Kentucky and in Indiana, Lincoln was not an orthodox Christian. He never sought to declare a traditional faith. There was no in-breaking light, no thunderbolt on the road to Damascus, no conviction that, as the Epistle to the Philippians put it, “every knee should bow” and declare Jesus as Lord. There was, rather, a steadily stronger embrace of the right in a world of ambition and appetite. To Lincoln, God whispered His will through conscience, calling humankind to live in accord with the laws of love. Lincoln believed in a transcendent moral order that summoned sinful creatures, in the words of Micah, to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God—eloquent injunctions, but staggeringly difficult to follow. “In the material world, nothing is done by leaps, all by gradual advance,” the New England abolitionist Theodore Parker observed. Lincoln agreed. “I may advance slowly,” the president reputedly said, “but I don’t walk backward.” His steps were lit by political reality, by devotion to the Union, and by the importuning of conscience. Meacham, Jon. And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle (pp. 15-16). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“I have often wished that I was a more devout man than I am,” Lincoln said in his White House years. “Nevertheless, amid the greatest difficulties of my Administration, when I could not see any other resort, I would place my whole reliance on God, knowing that all would go well, and that He would decide for the right.” Meacham, Jon. And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle (pp. 16-17). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Lincoln, who knew slavery, saw it, and was likely exposed to teaching and preaching that declared it wrong. Still, there was something in the faith of his father that kept Lincoln from declaring himself a believer and joining the church in which he was raised. Perhaps he disliked following his father, a parent with whom he had a complicated relationship on the best of days. Perhaps he was uncomfortable with the Baptist expression of predestination, which held that an omnipotent God had previously determined who was to be saved and who was to be damned, a theological assertion derived from John Calvin. Perhaps he never truly felt the call to make a public assent to the claims of the frontier Baptist sect he knew. And perhaps he sensed, at some level, a discrepancy between scripture, which Lincoln was coming to know well, and religious doctrine. Meacham, Jon. And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle (pp. 60-61). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Lincoln's step-mother Sarah Bush Lincoln recalled. “He read all the books he could lay his hands on.” The psalms of the King James Version were favorites, as were the hymns of Isaac Watts. Meacham, Jon. And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle (p. 70). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

A president who governed a divided country has alot to teach us in the twenty-first-century given the polarization and political crisis we are currently experiencing. I was amazed at how similar our past is just like our present. There are the same calls for state's rights. In fact, until the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, the U.S. Constitution was interpreted to mean that the federal government could not force the states to do anything. This is the reason that abolitionist leaning leaders did nothing to stop slavery. Lincoln changed this interpretation which angered both pro-slavery and anti-slavery people. Lincoln also ruled by executive order. He was the first president to do this and we know from current headlines how well this goes over. Citizens called for Lincoln to be assassinated the day after his election and then continued until he was assassinated. Also, he had to come to Washington for his inaugural disguised as someone else. In addition, I was surprised to learn that the southern states began seceding a few days after his election and all but one state had seceded before his inaugural. Southerners knew that Lincoln would outlaw slavery and did not wait until he was in office to take action. There was speculation that they would take over Mexico or the Central American countries and create a new nation based on slavery. Many of the confederate leaders were U. S. Senators and willingly resigned their offices in support of the south.

And There Was Light is a fantastic account of Abraham Lincoln's life. While there is a lot of minutiae concerning his political fights, it is good that we have this record to lean back on. ( )
  Violette62 | Feb 19, 2024 |
I am quite hesitant to attempt a review of this book for, no matter how hard I try, my words will not do it justice. Over the years, there have been many books about our 16th President, each contributing but a fraction of the man, but Meacham has given us as much of the whole man as one might reasonably expect. The Lincoln of the 1830s, 1840s, 1850s, and even the Lincoln who took office in March 1861, is not the Lincoln that went into eternity. This book does, what no other has done before and that is to demonstrate how Lincoln grew. The Lincoln of 1855 would be quite surprised by the Lincoln of 1865, and he would be astonished at the place held by Lincoln in 2023. The war-time President that so many history books tell us about, and some very well, fail in their efforts to tell us about the man and how that man's mind developed. The author does not just tell us but he supports what he tells us with 152 pages of notations. Meacham delivers his book in a straightforward way -- no double meanings and unemotional except in the Epilogue. ( )
  DeaconBernie | Oct 30, 2023 |
This is a fantastic biography of Abraham Lincoln. From his humblest of beginnings until the end, it covers his entire life. The book is divided into 6 sections, with 4 of them being during the Civil War years. it focuses primarily on Lincoln the person and what he thought and believed. As this was just written in 2022 it definitely has a contemporary feel, as Meecham shows (subtly) that Lincoln faced some of the same fears and prejudices that we face now. He also makes an effort to show how Lincoln's goals were practical - he tried to accomplish what he thought could be done, not necessarily all that he wanted to be done. A very good mix of material from Lincoln himself, as well as many contemporary sources. Excellent. ( )
  Karlstar | Jun 25, 2023 |
I can't remember the last time a non-fiction audio book had me crying like a baby, but the end of 'And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle' by Jon Meacham did just that. This book focuses on Lincoln's slow transition from a young man who detested slavery, but was willing to let the South keep its slaves, into the more mature man who's abolitionist views we are more familiar with. He experienced a slow and steady realization that things couldn't be allowed to stay the way they were.

I have come to the conclusion that though 158 years have passed since the North won the Civil War, and so much has improved, I fear that a version of this fight is still ongoing, and it deeply saddens me. ( )
  clamairy | Apr 6, 2023 |
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I do not despair of this country . . . The fiat of the Almighty, "Let there be Light," has not yet spent its force. - Frederick Douglas
I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight. I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice. - Theodore Parker
Moral cowardice is something which I think I never had. - Abraham Lincoln
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"A president who governed a divided country 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. At once familiar and elusive, Lincoln tends to be seen in popular minds as the greatest of American presidents--a remote icon--or as a politician driven more by calculation than by conviction. 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"--

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