Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2008

Abraham Lincoln: A Life, by Michael Burlingame

Dozens of books about Lincoln are published every year, but make no mistake, this one is a biggie. For starters it's 2,024 pages long, comes in two slipcased volumes and costs $125. But more to the point, Burlingame is a towering figure in Lincoln scholarship, and students of the 16th president have been waiting for this book for years. For all his learning — Burlingame may know more about Lincoln and his era than anyone in the world — his take on his subject is fresh, and he doesn't gloss over Lincoln's less appealing attributes. Abraham Lincoln comes as close to being the definitive biography as anything the world has seen in decades.

Lev Grossman

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