Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lincoln And His World: Prairie Politician, 1834-1842

by Richard Lawrence Miller

From the publisher:
In the second volume of this monumental Lincoln biography, the young Illinois politician is challenged by Stephen Douglas--brilliant organizer of the Illinois Democratic Party, perennial officeholder and candidate, and unscrupulous when publicly debating Lincoln. Lincoln and his fellow Whigs go on the attack as Democrats split into two factions. Rhetorical violence becomes physical as Whig mobs attack and politicians attempt murder. Lincoln publicly asks whether democracy can endure under such conditions. Yet Lincoln more than once takes politically unpopular stances condemning slavery and defending rights of free blacks in Illinois. The second volume of Lincoln and His World also explores Lincoln's private life: his romances with Ann Rutledge and wealthy plantation belle Mary Owens, his intimate friendship with Joshua Speed, and a stormy, loving relationship with the vivacious and passionate Mary Todd. Rather than concentrate on how Lincoln affected the world, author Richard Lawrence Miller shows how the world affected Lincoln, placing Lincoln in historical context to help readers to understand him. Presenting numerous firsthand recollections, Miller lets participants speak for themselves, an approach reflecting his years in public radio script writing.

Richard Lawrence Miller, a resident of Kansas City, is a former public radio producer and independent scholar whose books range from the Cold War to the drug war. His first presidential biography, Truman: The Rise to Power, was published twenty years ago. Articles about his Lincoln research have appeared in The New Yorker and American Heritage. His Lincoln website is