A historian-critic of President Obama sees Lincoln as succeeding through “patience and respect for the Constitution” but doesn’t seem to make his latest overall book work. At least that is the conclusion according to Alan Wolfe, whose NYT review is both blistering and helpful. Wilentz has a succinct idea:
Politicians serve the country best when they learn the art of compromise through party-building and not when they stand, prophet-like, outside the fray delivering secular, and sometimes overtly religious, sermons. Be prepared, as you read this book, to hear this thesis propounded relentlessly.