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Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of the sixteenth president of the United States shows a mature statesman at the height of his powers. But Lincoln's story starts long before that with a struggling country lawyer whose future was by no means assured. Browne's biography begins "in a rude cabin in a clearing, in the wilds of that section which was once the hunting-ground and later the battle-field of the Cherokees" and with a look at Lincoln's ancestry and youth before showing the budding career of a man who would become such a giant in American history. What is more, much of what Browne writes was gleaned from those who had known Lincoln:

"The men whose narratives make up a large part of this book all saw Lincoln plain, and here tell us what he spoke to them, and how he looked and seemed while saying it. The great events of Lincoln's life, and impressions of his character, are given in the actual words of those who knew him—his friends, neighbors, and daily associates—rather than condensed and remolded into other form."

"The value of these reminiscences increases with time. They were gathered largely at first hand. They can never be replaced, nor can they ever be very much extended.' "

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