Thursday, January 24, 2013

the last book I ever read (Rise to Greatness by David Von Drehle, excerpt one)

from Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year by David Von Drehle:

Magnetic, keenly sensitive, often able to understand others better than they understood themselves. Lincoln was, nevertheless, profoundly isolated, and this was a source of his sadness. He “never had a confidant,” his law partner and biographer William Herndon wrote. “He was the most reticent and mostly secretive man that ever existed.” Lincoln usually masked this isolation behind jokes and anecdotes and apparent bursts of candor. But even his brief descriptions of his youth strike a note of profound loneliness; he was, he once wrote, “a strange, friendless, uneducated, penniless boy.” His mother died when he was nine; soon afterward, Lincoln’s father abandoned him and his sister in the wilderness, to be cared for only by a slightly older cousin. The father returned months later to find the Lincoln children filthy, poorly fed, and in rags. Now, four decades later, Abraham Lincoln was no longer a lonely genius on a raw frontier, but he bore the internal scars of a boy who learned not to let others too close.

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