Honoring Honest Abe

A list of recommended media celebrating the life of our 16th president


Cover desings by Patti Ratchford, Mathew Brady, Wendell Minor and Dreamworks Pictures

Kayleigh Casto, Staff Reporter

Here’s a recommended list of biographical media to celebrate the life and legacy of Lincoln in recognizing the impact he still has on us today.

Note: The recommendations in the list below are aimed in celebrating the life of Abraham Lincoln rather than remembering the anniversary of his assassination.


Lincoln by David Herbert Donald

A one-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln’s evolution from humble beginnings to a career in law and politics and eventually a presidential victory, Donald focuses on the personable character of “Honest Abe” and how this plays a significant role in his ability to win favor from the people. Donald humanizes the larger-than-life accomplishments of Lincoln’s actions in saving the Union and the United States during the Civil War.

Lincoln is so lucid and richly researched, so careful and compelling, that it is hard to imagine a more satisfying life of our most admired and least understood president.” – Geoffrey C. Ward, The New York Times Book Review


Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Goodwin’s biography of the political success of Abraham Lincoln shows how his empathetic capacity of character aids him in the 1860 presidential election. His political astuteness towards his competitors: William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase and Edward Bates gives Lincoln the presidential victory while showcasing his leadership.

“This masterful and extremely entertaining work sheds light on the 16th president’s astounding grasp of the subtleties of politics and his mastery of the presidency during the Civil War, adding even more luster to the Lincoln image.” – The Courier-Journal


Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency by Dan Abrams and David Fisher

Told through the unconventional perspective of court stenographer Robert Hitt, the 1859 murder trial of Peachy Quinn Harrison (in defense by Abraham Lincoln) is the final court case of Lincoln’s law career before his ascent to the presidency. Abrams and Fischer show the strategic willpower of Lincoln in light of his personal and professional reputation.

“Lincoln’s wartime leadership overshadows his life as a lawyer. But you can’t understand one without the other. In this rich and previously unexplored corner of history, the authors take you inside the courtroom to watch Abraham Lincoln – as he tries a thrilling trial to a jury.” – Chris DeRose, author of The President’s War


Lincoln (2012)

This Steven Spielberg drama is based on a portion of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Set during Lincoln’s presidency, it follows the course of action he takes to resolve succession and the Civil War.

Lincoln is a rough and noble democratic masterpiece – an omen, perhaps, that movies for the people shall not perish from the earth.” – A. O. Scott, The New York Times