“Historian Burlingame, the chair in Lincoln studies at the University of Illinois, moves beyond Lincoln’s well-examined speeches and writings on African Americans to examine the personal relations he developed with Black leaders such as Frederick Douglass over time… A moderate defense of Lincoln’s racial views that should invite further debate about the subject.”
"Readers watch Lincoln—galvanized by his experiences with oppressed African Americans—fight to free Blacks from slavery, to open opportunities for them to serve in the Union army, and—most daringly—to give them the vote in the postwar republic. An engrossing portrait of a great statesman’s valiant struggle to give African Americans rights long denied."
– Booklist (starred)
"Provocative and extensively documented... Marshaling a wealth of primary sources, Burlingame argues that Lincoln, while at times a pragmatic politician who paid 'lip service' to notions of white supremacy, was at heart a racial egalitarian. A resolute and well-researched vindication of Lincoln’s progressive credentials."
– Publishers Weekly
“In Burlingame Lincoln has a worthy advocate, judicious, informed and temperate, and open-minded readers will find his book well worth the reading.”
– James Krohe Jr., Illinois Times
Praise for Michael Burlingame’s Abraham Lincoln: A Life:
"A magisterial enterprise."
– The New York Times
"These monumental volumes deserve a wide readership."
– St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"If you aspire to ‘Ultimate Lincoln Knowledge’ this is a must-read."
– The Chicago Tribune
"The result is a picture of Lincoln from all sides, in a style that is relentless but not daunting."
– Bloomberg News
"This book supersedes all other biographies. Future Lincoln books cannot be written without it, and from no other book can a general reader learn so much about Abraham Lincoln. It is the essential title for the bicentennial."
– Publishers Weekly
"Burlingame is a towering figure in Lincoln scholarship, and students of the sixteenth president have been waiting for this book for years. For all his learning, Burlingame may know more about Lincoln and his era than anyone in the world, his take on his subject is fresh, and he doesn't gloss over Lincoln's less appealing attributes. Abraham Lincoln: A Life comes as close to being the definitive biography as anything the world has seen in decades."
“The Black Man’s President is a seminal achievement. It takes its place among the most essential Lincoln books ever written.”
– Edward Steers, JR., For the People: The Newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association