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Extended Audio Sample Lincoln Audiobook, by David Herbert Donald Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (8,246 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Herbert Donald Narrator: Dick Estell Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2012 ISBN: 9781442362727
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In the bestselling tradition of Truman, two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer David Herbert Donald offers a new classic in American history and biography—a masterly account of how one man’s extraordinary political acumen steered the Union to victory in the Civil War and of how his soaring rhetoric gave meaning to that agonizing struggle for nationhood and equality.

Donald spent fifty years studying Lincoln, tracing his rise from humble origins to the pinnacle of the presidency. He reveals the development of the future president’s character and shows how Lincoln’s enormous capacity for growth enabled one of the least experienced men ever elected to high office to become a giant in the annals of American politics. He also depicts a man who was basically passive by nature yet ambitious enough to take enormous risks and overcome repeated defeats.

Much more than a political biography, Lincoln seats us behind the desk of a president who was both a master of ambiguity and expediency and a great moral leader, as he makes the decisions that preserved the Union and shaped modern America.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Eagerly awaited, Lincoln fulfills expectations. Donald writes with lucidity and elegance.”

    James M. McPherson

  • Lincoln immediately takes its place among the best of the genre, and it is unlikely that it will be surpassed in elegance, incisiveness and originality in this century.”

    Harold Holzer

  • “Mr. Donald’s Lincoln is so lucid and richly researched, so careful and compelling, that it is hard to imagine a more satisfying life of our most admired and least understood president.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A grand work—the Lincoln biography for this generation.”

    Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

  • “Donald proves himself the superb biographer of Lincoln”

    Library Journal 

  • “Donald, a two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning author…offers here a provocative reinterpretation of Abraham Lincoln’s career and character.” 

    Publishers Weekly 

  • “How [Lincoln] eventually became the leading Republican in Illinois, then president, and then successful commander-in-chief is a wondrous story, and it is brilliantly interpreted here.” 

    Booklist 

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Naomaru | 2/17/2014

    " Very good book for a beginner like me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bayoumacs | 2/13/2014

    " Arguably the best one-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie | 2/12/2014

    " An excellent biography that relies as much as possible in Lincoln's own words. It is a long but engaging read as Donald traces Lincoln's life from childhood through his rise as a lawyer and leader in the Illinois Republican party to his election as president and assassination. I thought Donald was particularly successful at showing Lincoln's transformation from an inexperienced executive to a confident and savvy leader who still retained his folksy charm. After almost 600 pages of closely analyzing Lincoln's life, Donald gracefully and humbly presents Lincoln to us to judge him for ourselves by closing the book with a narrative of Lincoln's last day. Do not be discouraged by the length of this book. It is worth it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh McConnell | 2/10/2014

    " Very exhaustive biography on one of the most famous Presidents in American history. It's long and sometimes dry at times, but you walk away feeling with an enhanced knowledge of a fascinating man. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug Ebeling | 2/5/2014

    " An outstanding biography of the man. The perspective is as he saw things, gathered information, tried different approaches, made mistakes, learned from them and kept going through a terrible time. Humanized the man and made me admire him all the more!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 2/5/2014

    " Lincoln only grew a beard when he was running for president, in order to look more serious. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 1/27/2014

    " This emminently readable biography is a delight. I learned so much about Lincoln, the Civil War, Mary Todd Lincoln and the tragedy of Abraham's life. Wonderful reading! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cornelio | 1/23/2014

    " A great, page-turning one volume biography of Lincoln. The reward was the stories that fill the factual lack that tends to surround to beloved and celebrated historical icons. The political maneuvering of Lincoln, trying to balance his evolving personal convictions with what was political feasible, and facing opposition from within and without his own party and the American people, while facing a multitude of challenges, really came alive in this book. And it's hard to not read this with some eye on our present circumstances, and a newly elected President from Illinois facing a multitude of problems while considering all the voices shouting at him, both support and dissent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gail | 1/23/2014

    " Excellent. Took me 3 years of stopping and starting, but finally finished it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 1/20/2014

    " Really interesting in depth biography of Lincoln. Sometimes a bit too in depth but overall worth reading "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ravish Mehra | 1/5/2014

    " has finished reading the best biography ever: "Lincoln". Not sure if its the writing or the Lincoln's life that makes it such an excellent read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deborah | 1/2/2014

    " A very good historical read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 12/26/2013

    " 4 stars so far! I'll finish it someday. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandra | 12/11/2013

    " Book Club, Biography. Very well done. Very long book "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Roueche | 12/10/2013

    " It opened my eyes to Lincoln as masterful politician and a man with a incredible ability to learn. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason Kruger | 11/30/2013

    " The best pure Lincoln biography I've read. There are others that delve into various parts of his life and career that are just as compelling, but none that broadly cover his life like this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 11/26/2013

    " A friend found this book at the Smithsonian in DC. Great book; well done in covering life of Lincoln "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ginny | 11/13/2013

    " Very good historical book of Abraham Lincoln's life. I listened to this as a "book on CD". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 10/7/2013

    " The most focused, comprehensive, and enjoyable tome about our greatest president. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 9/26/2013

    " Don't you dare call him Abe! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Peter | 1/23/2013

    " This book was a bit of a struggle to get through. I had to put it down several times and re-attack it in short bursts. It isn't a bad book, and it isn't poorly written, I just never really got into this one. I would only recommend this book to someone doing comprehensive research on Abraham Lincoln. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 1/8/2013

    " Extensive and in-depth history of the president. The length makes it a bit of a challenge, but worth it for the insight it offers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kimberly | 12/2/2012

    " A solid description of our greatest president's life. I did feel that it was a bit "wordy" at times, even for an historical read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Greg . | 11/16/2012

    " Best Civil War biography of all time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom D | 11/10/2012

    " I've read several books on Lincoln. What I like about this one is that the book is pretty straight forward sticking to the facts and not overly sentimental. "

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About the Narrator

Dick Estell was instrumental in the formation of National Public Radio and served as board chairman from 1972–74.  During this period he syndicated The Radio Reader to other public radio stations in the US.  He retired from WKAR in 1986 but continues to produce The Radio Reader from his home studio.