2019: Book #6
“A visit to the War Department telegraph office was usually his last chore. The operators left copies of all military telegrams in a pile in a desk drawer for him, with the last dispatch on top. They noticed that as he read them he sat far forward on the edge of his chair with one knee almost touching the floor. When he had worked through the pile to the messages he had read before, he put all of them back and said: “Well, I have got down to the raisins.”
The curiosity of the young operators got the better of them at last, and one of them asked the President what he meant by that remark. He told them he had known a little girl back home who once gorged herself with a stupendous meal of soup, chicken, ham, salad, potatoes, and sundry other vegetables, ice cream and cake, and at last a handful of raisins. Things began coming up; and after she had been busily occupied for some time, she looked at her mother and said reassuringly: “I am all right now. I have got down to the raisins.”
That story makes me laugh. It’s one that Lincoln told often.
It’s found in Benjamin Thomas’ book, “Abraham Lincoln: A Biography.”
So far, this is my favorite Lincoln book ever.
Thomas tells the life of Lincoln as though it were a story. This is masterful writing.
(Makes me a little jealous, to be honest.)
Lincoln’s struggle with God is on full display in this book. His father was a church-goin’ man. But at home, he was harsh and bitter toward young Abe. That probably led to Lincoln’s bout of agnosticism. As he grew older, he read the Bible more. When Lincoln’s son died, it broke him and he sought the face of God.
Sound like any of the rest of us? God uses pain to get our attention.
The book is 522 pages long, but a very easy read.
You’ll see Mary Todd’s “unhinged” persona on a grand stage. It’s actually very scary and makes Lincoln’s ability to endure even more amazing.
I love this book, but then again, I also love Lincoln.
If you read one book about Lincoln this year, read this one.
That’s book #6 for 2019.
46 more to go.
Remember, all leaders are readers.
If you want to be a better leader…be a reader.