Widely considered the best single volume biography of Abraham Lincoln, David paints a picture of Abraham Lincoln as a regular human, rather than a Saint, nor the contrarian opposite. He only details his life as it actually occurred to Lincoln, rather than going off of myth or ethos. While less of a story and more of a scholarly essay, you get Lincoln’s entire history, from his life of poverty to his maturation and growth as a lawyer; through to his beginnings in the political sphere and details into his relationships as a president.
Lincoln’s guiding principle was: “My policy is to have no policy.” This is not to say that he was unprincipled; rather, he evaluated and reacted as things came at him. He did not prejudge people or events, nor let his preconceived notions or beliefs affect his judgement. He was practical, flexible, and nimble and reacted to situations according to his best, moral judgement. This is something that is lacking in today’s culture and politicians as many individuals are steadfast in their beliefs without considerations for other principles or courses of actions. “Voting the party-line” is not policy. It is a lack of conviction towards one’s beliefs.
Lincoln’s life is a true underdog story. He grew up in the wilderness, fending for himself and his family, constantly carrying an axe. Uneducated, he took any job he could; chopping wood, splitting rails, and surveying property. He eventually educated himself and learned law through reading court cases and briefs, laying his lanky 6’ 4” body flat on the floor. He became a talented lawyer, skilled orator, eventual politician and one of the most famous Commander in Chiefs our world has seen, due to his curiosity, drive, and morals.