The Eloquent President
A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words
By Ronald C. Jr White
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780812970463, 480pp.)
Publication Date: January 10, 2006
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“White takes us back to when great men believed in the power of words to change the world. . . . This book . . . is a treasure to read, a spur to thinking, a small volume with fascinating history.”–The Denver Post
In The Eloquent President, historian Ronald C. White, Jr., examines Abraham Lincoln’s astonishing oratory and explores his growth as a leader, a communicator, and a man of deepening spiritual conviction. Examining a different speech, address, or public letter in each chapter, White tracks the evolution of Lincoln’s rhetoric from the measured tones of the First Inaugural to the immortal poetry of the Gettysburg Address. As he weighs the biblical cadences and vigorous parallel structures that make Lincoln’s rhetoric soar, White identifies a passionate religious strain that most historians have overlooked. It is White’s contention that, as president, Lincoln not only grew into an inspiring leader and determined commander in chief, but also embarked on a spiritual odyssey that led to a profound understanding of the relationship between human action and divine will. With grace and insight, White captures the essence of the four most critical years of Lincoln’s life and makes his great words live for our time in all their power and beauty.
RONALD C. WHITE, JR., is the author and editor of seven books, most recently Lincoln’s Greatest Speech, which was a Washington Post bestseller, a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, and a New York Times Notable Book. White earned his Ph.D. at Princeton and has taught at UCLA, Princeton Theological Seminary, Whitworth College, and Colorado College. He is currently Professor of American Intellectual and Religious History at San Francisco Theological Seminary and a Reader at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. He has lectured on Lincoln’s eloquence at the White House, the Library of Congress, and Gettysburg. He lives with his wife, Cynthia, in La Cañada, California.
“An insightful, highly readable exploration of literary genius.” –The Washington Post Book World
“Outstanding . . . Lincoln’s eloquence was of such a rare kind. Ronald C. White captures its qualities admirably.”
–The Wall Street Journal
“A sheer pleasure . . . It’s hard to say what’s more edifying: reading Abraham Lincoln’s words or reading Ronald C. White, Jr.’s illuminating take on Lincoln’s words.”
–The Sunday Oregonian
“Magnificent . . . White’s scholarship is exceptional.”
–The Sunday Oklahoman