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David Herbert Donald

June 2024
1min read

BIOGRAPHER

IF HE WAS REVOLTED by the idea of equality of blacks and whites, I was revolted by his stand .

As a boy growing up in Mississippi, I never had much interest in Abraham Lincoln, and it was not until graduate school at the University of Illinois, when I became the research assistant of Professor J. G. Randall, the great Lincoln scholar, that the subject really attracted me.

At that time Professor Randall was working on his account of the Fort Sumter crisis (which later appeared in his Lincoln the President ). Sitting beside him in his study four hours every day, I came to see how his mind worked and learned that history was not just a stringing together of names, dates, and anecdotes; it was more like a working out of an elaborate jigsaw puzzle, where every one of thousands of pieces had to fit.

The process began to fascinate me, and it has done so ever since.

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