Review by Choice Review
Guelzo's book, the first true intellectual biography of the man the author calls America's "redeemer president," ranks among the most significant half-dozen studies of Lincoln during a remarkable decade of scholarship. Although Guelzo's Lincoln found inspiration in Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, he reviled Jefferson's political legacy of agrarian planter democracy, championing instead the entrepreneurial Whiggery of Henry Clay. Especially perceptive is Guelzo's portrayal of Lincoln's odyssey from youthful scoffer to perhaps most religious of US presidents, ever rejecting the ritual and denominational dogma of public worship but increasingly taken with a personal form of Calvinist spirituality culminating in his immortal Second Inaugural Address, arguably the most profound exploration of religious values ever penned by an American author. Guelzo (Eastern College) errs in his venomous portrayal of Jeffersonian-Jacksonian democracy as crabbed, parochial political reaction, but in little else. Overall, this work is recommended for literate readers at all levels. R. A. Fischer; emeritus, University of Minnesota--Duluth
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.