Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Michael Burlingame  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Born: in Washington, DC

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Lives in Springfield, Illinois and works at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Biographical and Professional Information

He was born in Washington DC and attended Phillips Academy, Andover. As a freshman at Princeton University, he took the Civil War course taught by the eminent Lincolnian David Herbert Donald, who hired him a research assistant. When Professor Donald moved on to Johns Hopkins University, Burlingame upon graduation from Princeton followed him to that institution. There he received his Ph.D.In 1968 he joined the History Department at Connecticut College in New London, where he taught until retiring in 2001 as the May Buckley Sadowski Professor of History Emeritus. He joined the faculty of the University of Illinois-Springfield in 2009.Michael is also the editor of seven books on Lincoln and the Civil War including:"With Lincoln in the White House: Letters, Memoranda, and Other Writings of John G. Nicolay, 1860-1865""Inside the White House in War Times: Memoirs and Reports of Lincoln's Secretary""At Lincoln's Side: John Hay's Civil War Correspondence and Selected Writings""Lincoln's Humor" and Other Essays""The Real Lincoln: A Portrait""The Observations of John G. Nicolay and John Hay" , and; "Dispatches from Lincoln's White House: The Anonymous Civil War Journalism of Presidential Secretary William O. Stoddard"


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln
ISBN: 0252066677

University of Illinois Press. 1997

Abraham Lincoln's excruciating, yet highly productive, midlife crisis

his woeful marriage to a dishonest woman who often embarrassed and sometimes physically abused him

his intense estrangement from a shiftless father

his streak of cruelty

his explosive temper

and his aversion to women are among the topics covered by Michael Burlingame in The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln.
Based primarily on long-neglected manuscript and newspaper sources - especially on reminiscences of people who knew Lincoln - this psychobiography casts new light on the emotional origins of Lincoln's deep hatred of slavery, on his transformation from a party hack to a statesman, on his relations with his family, on the causes of his depressions, and on the roots of his ambition. Burlingame uses a blend of Freudian and Jungian theory to interpret the psyche of the sixteenth president.

Abraham Lincoln: A Life
ISBN: 0801889936

Johns Hopkins University Press. 2008

In the first multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln to be published in decades, Lincoln scholar Michael Burlingame offers a fresh look at the life of one of America’s greatest presidents. Incorporating the field notes of earlier biographers, along with decades of research in multiple manuscript archives and long-neglected newspapers, this remarkable work will both alter and reinforce current understanding of America’s sixteenth president.

Volume 1 covers Lincoln’s early childhood, his experiences as a farm boy in Indiana and Illinois, his legal training, and the political ambition that led to a term in Congress in the 1840s. In volume 2, Burlingame examines Lincoln’s life during his presidency and the Civil War, narrating in fascinating detail the crisis over Fort Sumter and Lincoln’s own battles with relentless office seekers, hostile newspaper editors, and incompetent field commanders. Burlingame also offers new interpretations of Lincoln’s private life, discussing his marriage to Mary Todd and the untimely deaths of two sons to disease.

But through it all—his difficult childhood, his contentious political career, a fratricidal war, and tragic personal losses—Lincoln preserved a keen sense of humor and acquired a psychological maturity that proved to be the North’s most valuable asset in winning the Civil War.

Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, this landmark publication establishes Burlingame as the most assiduous Lincoln biographer of recent memory and brings Lincoln alive to modern readers as never before.

Lincoln and the Civil War (Concise Lincoln Library)
ISBN: 0809330539

Southern Illinois University Press. 2011

In Lincoln and the Civil War, Michael Burlingame explores the experiences and qualities that made Abraham Lincoln one of America’s most revered leaders. This volume provides an illuminating overview of the entirety of the Civil War and Lincoln’s administration, focusing on the ways in which Lincoln’s unique combination of psychological maturity, steely determination, and political wisdom made him the North’s secret weapon that ultimately led to supremacy over the Confederacy.



When war erupted in 1861, the North—despite its superior economic resources and manpower—was considered the underdog of the conflict. The need to invade the South brought no advantage to the inefficient, poorly led Union Army. In contrast, Southerners’ knowledge of their home terrain, access to railroads, familiarity with firearms, and outdoor lifestyles, along with the presumed support of foreign nations, made victory over the North seem a likely outcome. In the face of such daunting obstacles, only one person could unite disparate Northerners and rally them to victory in the darkest moments of the war: Abraham Lincoln.



While Lincoln is often remembered today as one of America’s wisest presidents, he was not always considered so sage. Burlingame demonstrates how, long before the rigors of his presidency and the Civil War began to affect him, Lincoln wrestled with the demons of midlife to ultimately emerge as arguably the most self-aware, humble, and confident leader in American history. This metamorphosis from sarcastic young politician to profound statesman uniquely prepared him for the selfless dedication the war years would demand. Whereas his counterpart, Jefferson Davis, became mired in personal power plays, perceived slights, and dramas, Lincoln rose above personal concerns to always place the preservation of the Union first. Lincoln’s ability, along with his eloquence, political savvy, and grasp of military strategy made him a formidable leader whose honesty and wisdom inspired undying loyalty.



In addition to offering fresh perspectives on Lincoln’s complex personality and on the other luminaries of his administration, Lincoln and the Civil War takes readers on a brief but thorough tour of the war itself, from the motivations and events leading to Southern secession and the first shots at Fort Sumter to plans for Reconstruction and Lincoln’s tragic assassination. Throughout the journey, Burlingame demonstrates how Lincoln’s steady hand at the helm navigated the Union through the most perilous events of the war and held together the pieces of an unraveling nation.