Rise to Greatness by David Von Drehle
Abraham Lincoln and America's Most Perilous Year

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The electrifying story of Abraham Lincoln's rise to greatness during the most perilous year in our nation's history

As 1862 dawned, the American republic was at death's door. The federal government appeared overwhelmed, the U.S. Treasury was broke, and the Union's top general was gravely ill. The Confederacy--with its booming economy, expert military leadership, and commanding position on the battlefield--had a clear view to victory. To a remarkable extent, the survival of the country depended on the judgment, cunning, and resilience of the unschooled frontier lawyer who had recently been elected president.

Twelve months later, the Civil War had become a cataclysm but the tide had turned. The Union generals who would win the war had at last emerged, and the Confederate Army had suffered the key losses that would lead to its doom. The blueprint of modern America--an expanding colossus of industrial and financial might--had been indelibly inked. And the man who brought the nation through its darkest hour, Abraham Lincoln, had been forged into a singular leader.
In Rise to Greatness, acclaimed author David Von Drehle has created both a deeply human portrait of America's greatest president and a rich, dramatic narrative about our most fateful year.


About David Von Drehle

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David von Drehle is the author of three previous books, including the award-winning Triangle, a history of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire that The New York Times called "social history at its best." An editor-at-large at Time magazine, he and his family live in Kansas City, Missouri.
Published October 30, 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.. 480 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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At the center of the storm, Von Drehle deftly places Lincoln, gradually mastering the art of war, ultimately firing the too-timid McClellan, solemnly accepting and desperately searching for a general to apply the cruel arithmetic necessary for Union victory.

Sep 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Rise to Greatness: Abraham Li...

Publishers Weekly

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This is a conventional popular history with familiar figures, events, anecdotes, and no revisionist opinions, but Von Drehle has chosen a critical year (“the most eventful year in American history” and the year Lincoln “rose to greatness”), done his homework, and written a spirited account.

Jul 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Rise to Greatness: Abraham Li...

Open Letters Monthly

The one larger issue even than slavery – the question of whether or not the Federal government had the right to contest the South’s secession at all – is a quagmire that’s seen but not really entered in Rise to Greatness, although Von Drehle sketches in detail the almost ubiquitous talk of “state...

Nov 02 2012 | Read Full Review of Rise to Greatness: Abraham Li...

Oregon Live

The author's skilled and convincing depiction of Lincoln's "rise to greatness" in 1862 makes us wish all the more for a Lincoln in our time.

Jan 05 2013 | Read Full Review of Rise to Greatness: Abraham Li...


As Von Drehle puts it with consummate clarity, there was always "another headache" -- and the author has captured most of them, as they multiply, in Lincoln's brutally taxing, and perhaps even most momentous, year.

Dec 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Rise to Greatness: Abraham Li...

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Dec 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Rise to Greatness: Abraham Li...

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