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Publisher's Summary

After four years of unspeakable horror and sacrifice on both sides, the Civil War was about to end. On March 4, 1865, at his second inauguration, President Lincoln did not offer the North the victory speech it yearned for; nor did he blame the South solely for the sin of slavery. Calling the whole nation to account, Lincoln offered a moral framework for peace and reconciliation. Eventually this "with malice toward none" address would be accepted and revered as one of the greatest in the nation's history.

White's compelling description of Lincoln's articulation of our nation's struggle and the suffering of all - North, South, soldier, slave - offers new insight into Lincoln's own hard won victory over doubt and his promise of authority and passion. Delivered only weeks before his assassination, the speech was the culmination of Lincoln's moral and rhetorical genius.

©2002 Ronald C. White, Jr. (P)2002 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Well researched and at times extraordinarily moving, White's small volume comes closer to finding the true spirit of Abraham Lincoln than many of the more celebrated biographies." ( Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
"This excellent title is carefully and clearly read by Raymond Todd....Todd is respectful in his narration, using an appropriate tone throughout....His interpretation carries the reader along for a fascinating story about a very important and very short speech." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about Lincoln's Greatest Speech

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  • Ronnie Brown
  • 04-12-2018

Ronald White gets Lincoln right

Many Scholars interpreting Lincoln do not seem to have a theological understanding of the reformed/calvinistic faith. therefore they confuse providence and fatalism likewise they confuse Lincoln's God as first cause with passivity. if you want a accurate picture of Lincoln's thought dr white is your man. this is a great book.

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  • MZF
  • 04-01-2021

a thoughtful touch point in history.

it was interesting to hear details of the time. for such a short speech, the summary felt long. not sure exactly what I was looking for with this book, but I didn't quite find it. it feels relevant from the position that our nation is deeply divided right now and it feels overwhelming to think we need someone like Lincoln to bring us back together in order to avoid a repeat of history.

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  • John C. Menszer
  • 10-02-2022

Essential Lincoln

Mr. White has broken new ground and given us an unusually detailed, line by line analysis of the form, content and context of Lincoln’s greatest speech, his second inaugural address. I thought I was familiar with it, but now understand in a deeper way. Particularly interesting is Mr. White’s tracing of Lincoln’s evolution in thinking about the purposes of the war and the role of religion. The scholarship is first rate. The narration is very good. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Martin
  • 09-11-2021

Speech

I waited and waited to hear the greatest speech which never came. Great job in breaking down the speech but it would have been nice to actually hear it as Lincoln said it in its entirety.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-08-2021

Knowing A. Lincoln more

This was an eye opener for me. I didn’t expect Mr. Lincoln to write and speak that beautifully.

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  • RF
  • 03-06-2021

Great analysis and pespective

Understated analysis of words and thoughts interpolated into 1865. A great perspective was very evident.

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  • Tony
  • 27-02-2021

An excellent book

A wonderful and scholarly work. Gave me additional insights into a most complex person. Also a better appreciation of a masterful piece of oratory and literature.

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