(Pulitzer Prize winning author Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University, sent his top five suggested authors and titles about Abraham Lincoln to Navy Reads. One of the nation’s most prominent historians, Foner writes about the intersections of intellectual, political and social history, and on the history of American race relations.)
by Eric Foner
Richard N. Current, The Lincoln Nobody Knows. Not a standard biography but a perceptive investigation of key moments in Lincoln's career; almost half a century after its publication it remains one of the best works on Lincoln.
David Donald, Lincoln. Not entirely convincing in portraying Lincoln as a man lacking deep moral and political convictions, more buffeted by events, this is nonetheless probably the best one-volume biography.
James Oakes, The Radical and the Republican. A comparative study of Frederick Douglass and Lincoln, incisively reveals the differences, and growing conversion, between the radical abolitionist and the mainstream politician during the Civil War.
James M. McPherson, Tried By War. The best account of how Lincoln learned the art of warfare, his relationship with his generals, and his role in the military conduct of the Civil War.
And, especially for naval history, Craig Symonds, Lincoln and His Admirals. Despite the numerous volumes on Lincoln and the land Civil War, this is the first full study of Lincoln's relationship to the war at sea, and its reveals him mastering the nuances of naval warfare, something with which he had no experience before becoming president.
(Navy Reads thanks Prof. Foner, author of the enlightening The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery for sharing his recommendations for our Navy audience. -- BD)