The Best 11 Books on David Herbert Donald
Donald brilliantly depicts Lincoln’s gradual ascent from humble beginnings in rural Kentucky to the ever-expanding political circles in Illinois, and finally to the presidency of a country divided by civil war. Donald goes beyond biography, illuminating the gradual development of Lincoln’s character, chronicling his tremendous capacity for evolution and growth, thus illustrating what made it possible for a man so inexperienced and so unprepared for the presidency to become a great moral leader. In the most troubled of times, here was a man who led the country out of slavery and preserved a shattered Union—in short, one of the greatest presidents this country has ever seen.
Long considered the standard text in the field, The Civil War and Reconstruction―originally written by James G. Randall and revised by David Donald―is now available in a thoroughly revised new edition prepared by David Donald, Jean H. Baker, and Michael F. Holt.
Focusing on the political, military, economic, social, and diplomatic reasons behind the Union victory, this collection presents the most complete picture of this key aspect of Civil War studies. In an essay new to this edition, Henry Steele Commager offers a historiographical overview of the collapse of the Confederacy. Richard N. Current describes the economic superiority of the North and shows how the civilian resources of the South were dissipated during the war. T. Harry Williams examines the deficiencies of the Southern military strategy and leadership. Norman A. Graebner discusses the reluctance of France and England to aid the South. David Herbert Donald, in his own essay, reports that excessive Southern emphasis on individual freedom fatally undermined military discipline. And David M. Potter suggests that a lack of political leadership in the South resulted in gross incompetence. And exclusively for this edition, the editor has written a new foreword and completely updated the bibliography to create the most comprehensive and enlightening guide to understanding why the North won the Civil War.
First published in 1956 and revised and updated for the twenty-first century, Lincoln Reconsidered is a masterpiece of Civil War scholarship. In a dozen eloquent, witty, and incisive essays, the author of the definitive biography of Abraham Lincoln offers a fresh perspective on topics previously shrouded in myth and hagiography and brings the president’s tough-mindedness, strategic acumen, and political flexibility into sharp focus.
From Lincoln’s patchwork education to his contradictory interpretations of the Constitution and the legacy of the Founding Fathers, David Herbert Donald reveals the legal mind behind the legend of the Great Emancipator. “Toward a Reconsideration of the Abolitionists” sheds new light on the radicalism of the antislavery movement, while “Herndon and Mary Lincoln” brilliantly characterizes the complicated relationship between two of the president’s closest companions. “Getting Right with Lincoln” and “The Folklore Lincoln” draw on the methods of cultural anthropology to produce a provocative analysis of Lincoln as symbol.
No historian has done more to enhance our understanding of Lincoln’s presidency and the causes and effects of the Civil War than Donald. Lincoln Reconsidered is an entertaining and accessible introduction to his work and a must-read for every student of American history.
In this brilliant biographya Pulitzer Prizewinning national bestsellerDavid Herbert Donald, Harvard professor emeritus, traces Sumner's life as the nation careens toward civil war. In a period when senators often exercised more influence than presidents, Senator Charles Sumner was one of the most powerful forces in the American government and remains one of the most controversial figures in American history. His uncompromising moral standards made him a lightning rod in an era fraught with conflict.
Sumner's fight to end slavery made him a hero in the North and stirred outrage in the South. In what has been called the first blow of the Civil War, he was physically attacked by a colleague on the Senate floor. Unwavering and arrogant, Sumner refused to abandon the moral high ground, even if doing so meant the onslaught of the nation's most destructive war. He used his office and influence to transform the United States during the most contentious and violent period in the nation's history.
Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War presents a remarkably different view of our bloodiest war through an insightful reevaluation of the man who stood at its center.
"A truly perceptive study."
"Few books can be recommended wholeheartedly to the specialist and the general reader alike. This one can."
New York Times Book Review
"[Full of] Donald's unparalleled knowledge and provocative interpretations."
James M. McPherson, New York Times Book Review
In Liberty and Union, David Herbert Donald persuasively examines one of the most tumultuous periods in American history. With the same wit, eloquence, and willingness to question received wisdom that define his acclaimed biographies of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Sumner, Donald suggests that it was the commonalities between North and South—and not their differences—that led to the earth-shattering conflict that was the Civil War and defined the chaotic years that followed.
Exploring the political, social, and economic impact of the war, emancipation, Reconstruction, and westward expansion, Donald combines history and philosophy, offering a bold and thought-provoking analysis that goes far in explaining the nation we live in today. Riveting, illuminating, and provocative, Liberty and Union sheds a brilliant light on a half-century of US history and addresses a perennial problem of democratic societies all over the world: how to reconcile majority rule and minority rights.
Though Abraham Lincoln had hundreds of acquaintances and dozens of admirers, he had almost no intimate friends. Behind his mask of affability and endless stream of humorous anecdotes, he maintained an inviolate reserve that only a few were ever able to penetrate.
Professor Donald's remarkable book offers a fresh way of looking at Abraham Lincoln, both as a man who needed friendship and as a leader who understood the importance of friendship in the management of men. Donald penetrates Lincoln's mysterious reserve to offer a new picture of the president's inner life and to explain his unsurpassed political skills.
With a brief account of their first years in the White House and the complete collection of all the known letters exchanged by Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, this elegant portrait defines the sixteenth president as a dedicated -- though often a desperately busy and distracted -- family man.
Lincoln at Home is an intimate and rare glimpse of the president as husband and father, a cheerful man pinned to the floor while playing with his children, and a desolate man struck down with grief at the death of his son. Beyond this, we are shown a personal side of the man who managed one of the most difficult periods in American history.