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Abe's YouthAbe's Youth

Shaping the Future President

William Bartelt and Joshua A. Claybourn

Narrated by

Available from Audible

Book published by Indiana University Press

Since his death, Abraham Lincoln has been celebrated as savior of the Union, proponent for emancipation, president of the United States, and skilled statesman. Although Lincoln's adult life has been well documented and analyzed, most biographers have regarded his early years as inconsequential to his career and accomplishments.

In 1920 a group of historians known as the Lincoln Inquiry were determined to give Lincoln's formative years their due. Abe's Youth takes a look into their writings, which focus on Lincoln's life between 7 and 21 years of age. By filling in the gaps on Lincoln's childhood, these authors shed light on how his experiences growing up influenced the man he became. As the first fully annotated edition of the Lincoln Inquiry papers, Abe's Youth offers indispensable reading for anyone hoping to learn about Lincoln's early life.

Joshua A. Claybourn is an author and attorney working primarily with governmental entities and elected officials. His work has appeared in USA Today, the Hill, the American Spectator, National Review Online, American Thinker, and World Magazine, as well as numerous regional publications. On television he has commented on current events on CNN and MSNBC.


“Abe's Youth offers a fascinating, in-depth examination of the future president and the time and environment in which he grew up.”

—Johnson County Historical Society

“The editors have at last made easily available a host of sources, barely known or unknown even to Lincoln experts, and this compactness alone provides their purpose. Yet for the casual reader interested in the springtime of Lincoln's life, these now-uncovered tales also trot along at a summertime clip. It is fine reading — what Herndon missed, the Indiana historians found. Among these 30 short sections, we find rich clues to such questions as 'Why did Lincoln become a Henry Clay Whig rather than an Andrew Jackson Democrat?' and 'Was his background a burden, or an inspiration, to his later greatness?' Women like Ida Tarbell and Bess V. Ehrmann; men like John Iglehart and Roscoe Kiper now blaze our path anew. Here you will even find precise details from a settler on how to make a fire, and the fascinating terms those folk used for the tools.”

—James M. Cornelius, Ph.D., Editor, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association

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University Press Audiobooks