Lincoln in the World

December 1, 2013 Book Reviews 1 ★★★

Lincoln in the World three-stars
on 10/29/2013
Pages: 432
Format: eARC

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This is the story of one of the most breathtaking feats in the annals of American foreign policy—performed by one of the most unlikely figures. Abraham Lincoln is not often remembered as a great foreign-policy president. He had never traveled overseas and spoke no foreign languages. And yet, during the Civil War, Lincoln and his team skillfully managed to stare down the Continent’s great powers—deftly avoiding European intervention on the side of the Confederacy. In the process, the United States emerged as a world power in its own right.

Anchored by meticulous research into overlooked archives, Lincoln in the World reveals the sixteenth president to be one of America’s indispensable diplomats—and a key architect of America’s emergence as a global superpower. Much has been written about how Lincoln saved the Union, but Lincoln in the World highlights the lesser-known—yet equally vital—role he played on the world stage during those tumultuous years of war and division.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review by Travis Starnes

Lincoln in the World looks at an area generally ignored by most of the books on one of the US’s most famous presidents.  The book examines Lincoln’s foreign policy and his place in global diplomacy; specifically how his actions on the world stage kept foreign governments from recognizing the Confederacy or stepping in on the side of the south.

When I heard about this book I was intrigued.  There have been a lot of books written about President Lincoln and I feel like I have read most of them.  So I was happy to hear about an angle on the president I had not read before.  Getting into the book it became clear Peraino certainly did his research.  The world of international diplomacy can get pretty convoluted real fast and he manages to steer the reader through that world effectively.

I particularly liked how he decided to focus on the book on six specific events to show Lincolns foreign policy rather than attempt a blow by blow account of every incident the nation dealt with internationally during the Civil War years.  This more narrow focus allows the author to delve deeper than a more survey oriented book would and keeps the book from bogging down, a problem that seems pretty prevalent in books dealing with international diplomacy.

As a straight up history book this Lincoln in the World works.  While not the best work of history I have read, it is also not the worst.  I did find the book a little dry to read, but that may be a fault of the subject matter rather than a weakness of the writer.  There aren’t moments of excitement or tension.  This may lead to the other issue I had with the book is that it is fairly inaccessible to the general reader.  It isn’t footnoted to death or one quote after another that you see from poorly written history, but the issues examined are also a little dense.  I am not sure that is a big issue since this is the type of book that only really appeals to those interested in the subject matter.

This isn’t a bad book and if you like Lincoln and foreign diplomacy then it will be a good read.  If you just want a book on Lincoln then there are better titles.

three-stars
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Overall: 3

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