cover image Lincoln


David Herbert Donald. Simon & Schuster, $34.5 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-684-80846-8

Donald, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished scholar of the Civil War era (Charles Sumner), offers here a provocative reinterpretation of Abraham Lincoln's career and character. Donald presents Lincoln's nature as essentially passive. Throughout his life, according to Donald, Lincoln believed his destiny was controlled by some larger force or ``higher power.'' This conviction generated both an underlying fatalism and a pragmatic approach to problem-solving. If one approach--or one general--failed, another could be tried. Although the information available to Lincoln was often significantly limited by modern standards, bold plans based on a priori reasoning were foreign to his thought process. Instead, it was Lincoln's ability to respond to events and actions that brought the U.S. through its greatest crisis and established the matrix for successful, if imperfect, reunification. BOMC split main selection; History Book Club main selection. (Oct.)