Lincoln's Virtues: An Ethical Biography

William Lee Miller's Lincoln's Virtues is less an "event" chronology than the tracing of the moral and ethical core of Abraham Lincoln's beliefs, what Miller calls the man's "unintended preparation for greatness." Miller posits that Lincoln rightly deserves his nonpareil place in American history. But, he continues, Lincoln's greatness is best appreciated only when we realize he was merely mortal and therefore free to follow any number of courses of actions. Miller, through scores of eloquent exegeses of Lincoln's writings and speeches, explores the path--consistent, though evolving--this free agent took. Lincoln chose politics as his work. As a politician he was subject to the very real constraints of collective action. However, such was the man's "moral self-confidence," that the mantle of greatness alit on his shoulders alone. This is a revealing, delicate, and at times soaring work. It also presupposes its readers are much more than casually familiar with Lincoln's life and times. - -H. O'Billovitch

  • 4/5 Stars
William Lee Miller
Publication Info:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.

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