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Extended Audio Sample Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, by Richard Carwardine Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (264 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Carwardine Narrator: Stefan Rudnick Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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As a defender of national unity, a leader in war, and the emancipator of slaves, Abraham Lincoln lays ample claim to being the greatest of our presidents. This extraordinary biography by one of the most highly regarded historians on the subject examines Lincoln both as a rising politician and as president.

While pursuing office, Lincoln drew strength from public opinion and from the machinery of his party. As a wartime president, he recognized the limits as well as the possibilities of power. In his struggle to end slavery, he found allies in the churches, their humanitarian agencies, and the volunteer Union Army.

In illuminating the political talents that went hand in hand with a large and serious moral purpose, Carwardine gives us a fresh, important portrait of the incomparable Abraham Lincoln.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An illuminating and thoroughly intelligent assessment of Lincoln the politician...
    Carwardine provides a comprehensive study of how an essentially good man could gain and wield power even in scoundrel times.” 

    New York Times Review of Books

  • “Carwardine’s Lincoln Prize–winning study is not only analytical and smart, it’s also delightfully readable—and it will surely emerge as one of the most important Lincoln books to be published this decade.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Stands up to any comparison...Carwardine wisely reinterprets many sources to present his nuanced overview of the moral man that was Abraham Lincoln.”


  • “Whereas a print reader might pause to reflect, in audio it is narrator Stefan Rudnicki’s task to maintain the pace and rhythm of the whole. That he does so while staying true to the meditative character of the text is a measure of his impressive skill and discipline.”


  • “No one seriously interested in Lincoln can afford to ignore Carwardine’s judicious work.”

    Daniel Walker Howe, Oxford University

  • “There is simply no other Lincoln biography like it.”

    Tom Schwartz, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

  • “Oxford don Richard Carwardine…paints a remarkable picture of the greatest of the Americans who fused the secular and the sacred.”

    Gabor S. Boritt, director, Civil War Institute, Gettysburg

  • “An outstanding, detailed coverage which will prove a ‘must’ for any researching Lincoln’s life or times.”

    California Bookwatch

  • Winner of the 2004Lincoln Prize

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mark Stevens | 1/18/2014

    " Alright, but not nearly as good as the masterpiece of Team Of Rivals "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jennifer Harrison | 12/25/2013

    " Excellent research and deft narrative. If you want to read one book to understand Lincoln better, you can't go wrong with this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by James | 12/23/2013

    " Learned quite a bit about Lincoln's political career. The book is really informative, but the writing was pretty convoluted and felt like the author just wrote big words because he could. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Fred Gemeinhardt | 11/25/2013

    " A very scholarly treatment of Lincoln, more so than I would have liked. I found it a very difficult read mainly due to the author jumping around in time. But, it was well worth the read. I have new respect for Lincoln he was quite a man. "

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About the Author

Richard Carwardine is a Rhodes professor of American history at Oxford University and is the first British scholar to be awarded the Lincoln Prize, the largest award in America for nineteenth-century American history. He lives in Oxford.