Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths by Stephen B. Oates (2009)

Review by Catherine- Grade 11

Genre: Biography

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Rating: 7 out of 10

REVIEW

Lincoln is a name that will go down forever in American history for his impact on the country. Even so, much of Lincoln’s life is left in the dark compared to his days in office.

In Stephen B. Oates’ biography, Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths, readers get a clearer look at Lincoln’s entire life starting from childhood, all the way to his final days in office based on Lincoln’s own words, and the ones of those close to him. While Lincoln’s presidency is what most people know him for, Oates’ rendition includes accounts from his years as a successful lawyer and politician, as well as his social life throughout his story.

As I have read over the years, I realized that history was not one of my favorite subjects, and this biography felt like any other biography or autobiography on the shelf. That being said, the book was still very insightful and did a good job of including little details that really bring Lincoln’s life together which are not always talked about. This book also did a good job with structure, as each section seemed to match up with a turning point in Lincoln's life. This made it easier to keep track of the events and follow along with the story.

Looking back, I would recommend this book for history teachers who are looking for a book choice to give out in class. Especially in American history, Oates’ biography sheds light on the forgotten side of Lincoln, and also reflects this period and how it affected his life. Overall, the book was informative but felt a bit generic.