Whether he was composing love letters, speeches, or legal arguments, words mattered to Abraham Lincoln. An admirer and avid reader of Byron, Burns, and Shakespeare, Lincoln was the most literary of our presidents. His views on love, liberty and human nature were all shaped by his reading and knowledge of literature.
Kaplan explores Lincoln's life through his use of language as a vehicle for complex ideas and feelings and as an instrument of persuasion and empowerment. Like the other great canonical writers of American literature - a status he is gradually attaining - Lincoln had a literary career that is inseparable from his life story.
Kaplan focuses on the elements that shaped the form of Lincoln's mental and imaginative world: how his use of language molded his identity, relationships, and career; and how it simultaneously generated both the distinctive political figure he became and the public discourse of the nation.
Since Lincoln, no president has written his own words and addressed his audience with equal and enduring effectiveness. Kaplan's unique account of Lincoln's life and career highlights the shortcomings of the modern presidency and reminds us that the effective and honest use of language is a necessity for a successful democracy. Download and start listening now!