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The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and…

de James Oakes

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1616131,889 (3.53)9
This is a book about two towering figures in our nation's history. It is a moving story about an improbable friendship, and an important story about an equally improbable alliance. [In the book, the author] has written a ... narrative history. He brings these two iconic figures to life and sheds new light on the central issues of slavery, race, and equality in Civil War America. -Dust jacket.… (mais)
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Actually quite good, if a bit repetitive and in some place contradictory. Oakes clearly lays out Lincoln's longstanding opposition to slavery, as opposed to his abolition-by-convenience reputation. Frederick Douglass gets a fair treatment as well and its interesting to see his political development a well. ( )
  ScoutJ | Mar 31, 2013 |
When discussing famous Americans, I believe it easy for most of us to automatically assume Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were men who were fighting for the same cause. On the surface, this would make it seem that they would have similar goals and means of achievement.

In The Radical and the Republican, the author James Oakes takes a deeper look at the relationship between Lincoln and Douglass in regards to slavery and emancipation. What might seem obvious to the average person is not so simple once a deeper look is taken. Oakes emphasizes throughout that while both men hated slavery, they were frequently at odds with each other on multiple issues. At the heart of the matter, one was a reformer and the other a politician.

It should be said that this is not a biography of either man. Though Oakes gives background information, the main focus of the book is on the struggle for emancipation, and how Lincoln and Douglass interacted and reacted towards each other in regards to this issue. Oakes is a clear writer and the information is presented in an easy format to digest. This isn’t one of those history texts which will leave you feeling bogged down.

I would definitely recommend this title to those who are interested in Lincoln and Douglass’s thoughts, beliefs, and actions in regards to slavery. If you are searching for biographies of either man, I suggest you look elsewhere. ( )
1 vote greeneyed_ives | Dec 15, 2012 |
Mr Oakes concludes this book with denial of writing a "dual biography." Despite this claim, the insight he provides with investigation of each man's words, Mr Oakes paints two near biographical pictures of each Civil War era players' ethics, morals, and core beliefs.

While this book reads as quickly as a fictional paperback, the author imparts an immense amount of information. In chronological order, each chapter allows Mr Oakes to posit several questions or theories before using his research and writings of the time to offer his interpretation of how events transpired and advanced, ultimately throwing America into a Civil War.

Without admonishing either man for slowly evolving to meet the same goal, Mr Oakes responsibly conveys biases, social beliefs, and barriers of the day in a matter-of-fact way.

Originally reviewed BN.com December 1, 2010
  HistReader | Dec 19, 2011 |
This year for my annual tradition of reading a book about Abraham Lincoln for Lincoln Day, I read The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics (2006) by James Oakes. This is an excellent dual biography tracing their parrallel lives in the fight against slavery. Oakes does a great job at describing the huge chasm between antislavery politics (Lincoln's way) and abolitionism (Douglass), the former accepting slavery as Constitutionally protected but endeavoring to stop it's spread (and thus hasten it's demise) while the latter sought to go beyond politics and completely eliminate slavery and racism. Oakes also shows how Lincoln and Douglass brought the two together as Lincoln would become an emancipator while Douglass increasingly became involved in Republican politics.

Interestingly, the two men only met three times, each meeting detailed in the book. These meetings and correspondence engendered a friendship that irrevocably changed each of the men. The insight given to these meetings and thoughts Lincoln and Douglass had for another are tilted towards Douglass since he outlived Lincoln and had the opportunity to write and reflect on their relationship. I enjoyed reading this book and found it a valuable for its insights into these two great American leaders of the 19th-century. ( )
  Othemts | Jun 26, 2008 |
I enjoyed this book mostly for what I learned about Douglass. Since Lincoln and Douglass had few (but memorable) direct interactions, a whole book dedicated to them both by necessity has to deal with each separately. I'm sure that a biography devoted to Douglass would be better than this if you wanted to learn just about Douglass. However, for what I learned about Douglass, I'll give it a 'passing grade'. ( )
  estamm | Jan 16, 2008 |
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This is a book about two towering figures in our nation's history. It is a moving story about an improbable friendship, and an important story about an equally improbable alliance. [In the book, the author] has written a ... narrative history. He brings these two iconic figures to life and sheds new light on the central issues of slavery, race, and equality in Civil War America. -Dust jacket.

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