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Download Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief, by James M. McPherson Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,519 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James M. McPherson Narrator: George Guidall Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Though Abraham Lincoln arrived at the White House with no previous military experience, he quickly established himself as the greatest commander-in-chief in American history. James McPherson illuminates this often misunderstood and profoundly influential aspect of Lincoln’s legacy. In essence, Lincoln invented the idea of commander-in-chief, as neither the Constitution nor existing legislation specified how the president ought to declare war or dictate strategy. 

In fact, by assuming the powers we associate with the role of commander-in-chief, Lincoln often overstepped the narrow band of rights granted the president. Good thing too, because his strategic insight and will to fight changed the course of the war and saved the Union.

For most of the conflict, he constantly had to goad his reluctant generals toward battle, and he oversaw strategy and planning for major engagements with the enemy. Lincoln was a self-taught military strategist (as he was a self-taught lawyer), which makes his adroit conduct of the war seem almost miraculous. To be sure, the Union’s campaigns often went awry, sometimes horribly so, but McPherson makes clear how the missteps arose from the all-too-common moments when Lincoln could neither threaten nor cajole his commanders to follow his orders. 

This book provides a genuinely novel, even timely, view of the most written about figure in our history. Tried  by War offers a revelatory portrait of leadership during the greatest crisis our nation has ever endured. How Lincoln overcame feckless generals, fickle public opinion, and his own paralyzing fears is a story at once suspenseful and inspiring.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Winner of the Lincoln Prize

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Howard | 2/15/2014

    " Particularly good on dealing with some of the Constitutional issues that Lincoln dealt with. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Shan | 2/10/2014

    " New view of the war as Lincoln defines the role of "commander in chief" in his attempt to keep a united country while military leaders play their own agenda wars. Listened to with father and husband on trip to Vegas. Both enjoyed it and learned from it as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lynn Green | 1/25/2014

    " Great book on the Civil War by a great author. James McPherson emphasizes Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief during the Civl War, something that has not be adequately explored. I was particularly impressed by the fact that Lincoln had many opportunities to rescind the Emancipation Proclaimation. Many people, including the arch-abolitionist Horace Greeley, incouraged him to do just that. But Lincoln held true to his resolve, and in doing so transformed the war from a question of federalism vs. states rights to a test of human justice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Ingrid Warren | 1/9/2014

    " A quick read with new insights into Lincoln' political savvy. "

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