Reviews for Lincoln

Criticas Reviews 2003 January-February
In this award-winning biography, Spanish journalist and historian Vidal offers a persuasive and well-written account of the life and career of President Abraham Lincoln. Under Vidal's treatment, the 16th president emerges as a living human being who faced the challenge of the Civil War with courage, determination, political skill, and faith. The author traces Lincoln's rise to power from his obscure beginnings in the Illinois prairies to his tragic end at the hands of actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. In his effort, Vidal joins a handful of writers, including Victor Alba (Lincoln, Planeta, 1989) and Julián Ruiz (Abraham Lincoln: El sueno americano [Abraham Lincoln: The American Dream], Univ. de Sevilla, 1999), who have attempted to bring Lincoln's life and work to a Spanish-speaking audience. Based almost entirely on secondary sources, the book offers no great surprises or insights into Lincoln's personality, political style, or decision-making. But it does provide a coherent and sober narrative that touches on the Civil War's key participants and main political and military events, delving briefly into the failures of postwar Reconstruction. Vidal's key contribution is his assertion that Lincoln's legacy transcended America's national boundaries, standing for the timeless principles of democracy, self-determination, racial equality, minority rights, and the rule of law. In Vidal's able hands, Lincoln comes to life as both a great (perhaps the greatest) American president and as a world citizen who defended the rights and principles that all free people hold dear. Highly recommended for all public libraries and bookstores.-Jose O. Diaz, Ohio State Univ. Lib., Columbus Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.