Wrestling With His Angel

The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. II, 1849-1856

Wrestling With His Angel

The “magisterial” (The New York Times Book Review) second volume of Sidney Blumenthal’s acclaimed, landmark biography, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, reveals the future president’s genius during the most decisive period of his political life when he seizes the moment, finds his voice, and helps create a new political party.

In 1849, Abraham Lincoln seems condemned to political isolation and defeat. His Whig Party is broken in the 1852 election, and disintegrates. His perennial rival, Stephen Douglas, forges an alliance with the Southern senators and Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. Violent struggle breaks out on the plains of Kansas, a prelude to the Civil War.

Lincoln rises to the occasion. Only he can take on Douglas in Illinois. He finally delivers the dramatic speech that leaves observers stunned. In 1855, he makes a race for the Senate against Douglas, which he loses when he throws his support to a rival to prevent the election of a proslavery candidate. In Wrestling With His Angel, Sidney Blumenthal explains how Lincoln and his friends operate behind the scenes to destroy the anti-immigrant party in Illinois to clear the way for a new Republican Party. Lincoln takes command and writes its first platform and vaults onto the national stage as the leader of a party that will launch him to the presidency.

The Washington Monthly hailed Blumenthal’s Volume I as, “splendid…no one can come away from reading A Self-Made Man without eagerly anticipating the ensuing volumes.” Pulitzer Prize–winning author Diane McWhorter hailed Volume II as “dramatic narrative history, prophetic and intimate.” Wrestling With His Angel brings Lincoln from the wilderness to the peak of his career as he is determined to enter into the battle for the nation’s soul and to win it for democracy.

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Sidney Blumenthal
© Noah Willman

Sidney Blumenthal

Sidney Blumenthal is the former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, and senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. He has been a national staff reporter for The Washington Post, Washington editor and staff writer for The New Yorker, senior writer for The New Republic, and contributed to numerous additional publications. His books include the bestselling The Clinton Wars, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment, and The Permanent Campaign. Among his films, he was the executive producer of the Academy and Emmy Award–winning Taxi to the Dark Side.

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