Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography | William E. Gienapp

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2018: Book #52

“As this letter indicated, Lincoln’s favorite plays focused on power and politics, issues central to his own life. Like Shakespeare’s tragic figures, Lincoln was also ambitious, but he derived little personal pleasure from the exercise of power. Instead, he found it only an ordeal, which grew heavier as the war continued, and his deeply ingrained melancholy drew him out to the darkness of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Increasingly he found in the will of God the means to carry on under the weight of responsibility.”

That last sentence is powerful. Lincoln looked for various means to help him bear the responsibilities of leadership. Those means included the writings of Shakespeare.

The passage comes from William E. Gienapp’s book, “Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography.”

Interesting what different authors choose to focus on when writing about Lincoln.

Gienapp writes about Lincoln’s anger a good bit. His anger at…

… his generals (who failed to act)…

…congress (which played games)…

…his wife (who frequently embarrassed him)…

…himself (for not having all the answers.)

Gienapp writes, “Abraham Lincoln was not born a great president.”

Leaders are made, not born. One can be born with certain gifts—listening and discernment, for example—but experiences, failures, and successes will need to happen to truly show the depth of one’s ability.

This was a very good book.

I recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of Lincoln.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

And with that here we are…52 books read before December 31, 2018 (which was the goal). From here I plan to get a few bonus books in, but I may wait to share those in 2019. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Remember, all leaders are readers.
If you want to be a better leader…be a reader.
#52in2018

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