Review of “Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years” by Carl Sandburg

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

Prairie1Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years ” is a two-volume biography of Lincoln’s early life written by Carl Sandburg and published in 1926. Sandburg, like Lincoln, was a son of the Illinois prairie and he harbored a lifelong fascination with the sixteenth president. Although better known as an eminent American poet, Sandburg was also a well-regarded biographer.

Following publication of “The Prairie Years” Sandburg began an exhaustive effort to complete his study of Lincoln. In 1939 he published a four-volume series “Abraham Lincoln: The War Years” covering Lincoln’s presidency. This second installment on Lincoln’s life earned Sandburg the 1940 Pulitzer Prize in history, making him the only person ever to receive Pulitzers in both poetry and history. Sandburg died in 1967 at the age of 89.

Despite lacking access to many of the historical sources available to modern Lincoln biographers, much of Sandburg’s “The Prairie Years” rings familiar to readers…

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