And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle

Written by:
Jon Meacham
Narrated by:
Jon Meacham

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
October 2022
17 hours 49 minutes
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer Jon Meacham chronicles the life of Abraham Lincoln, charting how—and why—he confronted secession, threats to democracy, and the tragedy of slavery to expand the possibilities of America.

“Meacham has given us the Lincoln for our time.”—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Winner of the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize • Longlisted for the Biographers International Plutarch Award • One of the Best Books of the Year: The Christian Science Monitor, Kirkus Reviews

A president who governed a divided country has much to teach us in a twenty-first-century moment of polarization and political crisis. Hated and hailed, excoriated and revered, Abraham Lincoln was at the pinnacle of American power when implacable secessionists gave no quarter in a clash of visions bound up with money, race, identity, and faith. In him we can see the possibilities of the presidency as well as its limitations.

At once familiar and elusive, Lincoln tends to be seen as the greatest of American presidents—a remote icon—or as a politician driven more by calculation than by conviction. This illuminating new portrait gives us a very human Lincoln—an imperfect man whose moral antislavery commitment, essential to the story of justice in America, began as he grew up in an antislavery Baptist community; who insisted that slavery was a moral evil; and who sought, as he put it, to do right as God gave him to see the right.

This book tells the story of Lincoln from his birth on the Kentucky frontier in 1809 to his leadership during the Civil War to his tragic assassination in 1865: his rise, his self-education, his loves, his bouts of depression, his political failures, his deepening faith, and his persistent conviction that slavery must end. In a nation shaped by the courage of the enslaved of the era and by the brave witness of Black Americans, Lincoln’s story illustrates the ways and means of politics in a democracy, the roots and durability of racism, and the capacity of conscience to shape events.
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Michael W.

bad choice. Not author I'll be reading again.

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Sally F.

A detailed portrait of a great President and man - includes well told and detailed descriptions of the political and social landscape. Detailed and vivid portraits of politicians, family, and supporters and detrators of Lincoln. Clear delineation of the political issues at play during Lincoln's life and presidency.

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Dietmar B.

An extraordinary account of an imperfect man and one of the greatest ever.

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Mike H.

It is fascinating how many similarities there are from the time when President Lincoln served and today with so much divisiveness and strife. Thank goodness our great country had a leader that was willing to put country before himself or party. He focused on doing the right thing and this book outlines it well. It is long, but it is worth it.

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Norma U.

Wonderful book

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