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Chris DeRose, the “gifted young historian” (Richard Norton Smith) who penned one of The Washington Post’s “Best Political Books” with 2011’s Founding Rivals, draws from the unpublished “Papers of Abraham Lincoln,” and other rare sources, to deliver the first fully realized portrait of Lincoln’s controversial early political career.
The years 1847 through 1849, though marked by defeat and divisiveness for Washington’s newest arrival, ultimately defined Lincoln’s future as president during America’s darkest days. With keen insights sprung from his exhaustive research, DeRose portrays Congressman Lincoln as a leader torn between principle and viability, who once nearly dueled a political adversary; a master strategist and member of the Whig party; a reluctant husband saddled with a tormented private life; and more—in a biography so timely and relevant that House Speaker John A. Boehner quoted Congressman Lincoln at length in a 2013 address to House Republicans, excerpting Lincoln’s warnings about government debt “growing with a rapidity fearful to contemplate.”