The book I chose for my review was written by Waldo W. Braden on Abraham Lincoln’s ability as a public speaker. The popular opinion of Americans in Lincoln’s day was that he was a wonderful president, but a second-rate public speaker. In this book, the
author goes in depth with the three of his most famous speeches: the First Inaugural Address, the Second Inaugural Address, and lastly the Gettysburg Address. Braden persuades the reader of Lincoln’s natural gift as an orator.
Overall, this book was written very well. Braden persuades the audience to believe that Lincoln was a very talented speaker, using simplistic terms to win the crowd over across the world. Lincoln won the support of his country by demonstrating he was a man of good morals and common sense. In his speeches he used ordinary terms to ensure that he was comprehendible and that the media would not misconstrue his words and turn them against him.
It is a persuasive piece so it does have a great deal of bias. It is highly opinionated as well. Braden discusses how some people did not think so highly of him, but does not go into any depth of the opposing side. In fact, when he does bring up the antagonists, he is still quoting the most positive things that they said about him. He only writes about Lincoln’s positive qualities, with the exception of one chapter. In chapter three he speaks of how Lincoln was soft-spoken, to a degree. Waldo Braden does mention that before his presidency, he was often eager to speak and rarely refused an invitation to rallies, conventions, ceremonies or public gatherings. But after he won the election he was often reluctant to speak, although it was inevitable, being the president. Braden still turned negative thoughts into positive ones, thus trying to keep up his persuasion techniques.
Abraham Lincoln: Public Speaker is written in awfully easy-to-read terms. Braden must have taken notes from Lincoln’s writing style, because he wrote this book in a very simplistic way as well. It is definitely easy to tell that he did his research and mimicked the same style while writing this book. He makes it very easily readable for the general audience. A middle-school student could read this book, but it would also be enjoyable to a college student or perhaps any type of professional. The organization of this book is outstanding.
He goes into elaborate depth, providing exact dates, maps and footnotes on almost every page. The counties on the map show the dates of when Lincoln spoke there. He mentions the amount of Lincoln’s hotel room bills and compares them to other politicians of the time. Braden’s book is extremely well organized and logical. He separates each of the famous addresses into different chapters. He takes the time to go through the details. He analyzed almost every point Lincoln made, and goes into depth with it, explaining how it made him a grand public speaker. He takes the reader through almost every hour of the speech, analyzing the content and building up Lincoln’s image. He pays so much attention to every detail.
Although incredibly opinionated and biased, this book is still fun for any audience to read. Braden made some excellent points, but in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand way. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that is trying to prove that Lincoln was not a good orator. It is extremely persuasive, yet educational.