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Differ We Must: How Lincoln Succeeded in a Divided America - Hardcover

$30.00

Differ We Must: How Lincoln Succeeded in a Divided America - Hardcover

Differ We Must: How Lincoln Succeeded in a Divided America - Hardcover

$30.00

An instant New York Times bestseller

“Presidential historians love to claim at the beginning of a biography that they will demonstrate some remarkable evolution by the end, but it’s often imperceptible in the pages between. In Inskeep’s hands, by contrast, Lincoln advances as a person and a politician. To a large extent, Inskeep shows, the president’s growth was a product of his ability to interact patiently with others, even when their conduct or character was troubling . . . Inskeep’s Lincoln isn’t yet the Great Emancipator we know; the famously self-taught, craggy-faced, frontier-raised man figures out how to get there through these conversations. He understood that people were motivated by self-interest, but delineating that interest was an art. He wasn’t precious about who he spoke to, and he was always compassionate . . . Differ We Must offers important parallels with the present . . . The key to preserving democracy in a moment of crisis, Inskeep reminds us, is electing a leader who is committed to something far greater than himself: America.” - The Washington Post

“Inskeep details how much Lincoln’s political skill was a part of the late president’s legacy and character . . . The brisk biography, filled with lively anecdotes and interesting analysis, offers more than enough to stand out among recent additions to the collection of Lincoln biographies.” - Associated Press

“Steve Inskeep, the genial NPR host who spends his days respectfully eliciting the views of all, finds in our 16th president a model for our age. He has written an instructive and entertaining introduction to Lincoln by telling the stories of 16 men and women whose lives intersected with his, ranging from William Seward, his scheming secretary of state, to his troubled wife, Mary. Most will be familiar to avid Lincolnophiles, but some less so, such as Lean Bear, the Cheyenne chief who was part of a delegation that met with Abe in the White House in 1863; and William Florville, the Haitian barber and entrepreneur who cut Lincoln’s unruly hair in Springfield. What emerges is a multifaceted picture of a man who collected friends from everywhere.”- Air Mail

A compelling and nuanced exploration of Abraham Lincoln's political acumen, illuminating a great politician's strategy in a country divided--and lessons for our own disorderly present.

In 1855, with the United States at odds over slavery, the lawyer Abraham Lincoln wrote a note to his best friend, the son of a Kentucky slaveowner. Lincoln rebuked his friend for failing to oppose slavery. But he added: "If for this you and I must differ, differ we must," and said they would be friends forever. Throughout his life and political career, Lincoln often agreed to disagree. Democracy demanded it, since even an adversary had a vote. The man who went on to become America's 16th president has assumed many roles in our historical consciousness, but most notable is that he was, unapologetically, a politician. And as Steve Inskeep argues, it was because he was willing to engage in politics--meeting with critics, sometimes working with them and other times outwitting them--that he was able to lead a social revolution.

In Differ We Must, Inskeep illuminates Lincoln's life through 16 encounters, some well-known, some obscure, but all imbued with new significance here. Each interaction was with a person who differed from Lincoln, and in each someone wanted something from the other. While Lincoln didn't always change his critics' beliefs--many went to war against him--he did learn how to make his beliefs actionable. He told jokes, relied on sarcasm, and often made fun of himself--but behind the banter was a distinguished storyteller who carefully chose what to say and what to withhold. He knew his limitations and, as history came to prove, he knew how to prioritize. Many of his greatest acts came about through his engagement with people who disagreed with him--meaning that in these meetings, Lincoln became the Lincoln we know.

As the host of NPR's Morning Edition for almost two decades, Inskeep has mastered the art of bridging divides and building constructive debate in interviews; in Differ We Must, he brings his skills to bear on a prior master, forming a fresh and compelling narrative of Lincoln's life. With rich detail and enlightening commentary, Inskeep expands our understanding of a politician who held strong to his moral compass while navigating between corrosive political factions, one who began his career in the minority party and not only won the majority but succeeded in uniting a nation.

Author Biography

Steve Inskeep is a co-host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio program in the United States, and of NPR's Up First, one of the nation's most popular podcasts. His reporting has taken him across the United States, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, Pakistan, and China. His search for the full story behind the news has led him to history; he is the author of Instant City, Jacksonland, and Imperfect Union.

Number of Pages: 352
Publication date: October 3, 2023
Dimensions: 1.3 x 9.4 x 6.5 IN

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