Lincoln's Yarns and Stories

Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories

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Introduction of Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories

“Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories” is a collection of humorous anecdotes, witty remarks, and inspirational tales by Abraham Lincoln, compiled by Alexander K. McClure, a prominent journalist and political commentator of the late 19th century. The book, first published in 1901, provides an intimate glimpse into Lincoln’s personality and his unique style of communication that endeared him to the American people and made him one of the most beloved presidents in history. This review provides an overview of the book, highlights its key features, and evaluates its relevance and impact on the legacy of Abraham Lincoln.

Overview of Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories

“Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories” is a collection of over 100 anecdotes and stories that Abraham Lincoln told throughout his life, ranging from witty one-liners to lengthy narratives. The book is organized thematically, with chapters on Lincoln’s early life, legal career, political campaigns, presidency, and personal experiences. The stories are introduced by brief commentaries by McClure, who provides historical context and background information on Lincoln’s life and times. The book also includes a short biography of McClure and an index of the stories.

Key Features of the Book

The main feature of the book is, of course, the stories themselves. They are a mixture of humor, wisdom, and insight, reflecting Lincoln’s unique personality and communication style. Many of the stories are well-known, such as the tale of Lincoln’s encounter with the man who claimed to have met a six-foot-tall talking dog, or his response to a question about how long a man’s legs should be. Others are less familiar but equally engaging, such as the story of the woman who saved Lincoln’s life during his youth or his account of the time he met a man who claimed to have seen a ghost.

Strengths of Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories

One of the strengths of the book is its variety of stories, which showcase different aspects of Lincoln’s personality and experiences. Some of the stories are purely humorous, such as his description of a man who had a “face like a dried apple.” Others are more serious, such as his account of a slave auction he witnessed as a young man, which left a profound impact on him. Still, others are inspirational, such as his retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan, which he used to explain his belief in the importance of helping others.

Another feature of the book is its historical context. McClure provides background information on the stories and their significance, placing them in the context of Lincoln’s life and times. He also includes anecdotes about his own interactions with Lincoln and his impressions of the president. This adds depth and richness to the stories, helping readers understand the man behind the legend.

Relevance and Impact of the Book

“Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories” is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. It provides a window into his personality and communication style, which were key elements of his success as a leader. The stories also reveal his sense of humor, his compassion, and his intelligence, which continue to inspire generations of Americans.


Moreover, the book highlights the importance of storytelling in politics and leadership. Lincoln understood the power of stories to connect with people. To convey complex ideas in simple terms, and to inspire action. He used storytelling to great effect in his speeches and conversations. His legacy as a master storyteller endures to this day.

Cultural and Historical Context

The book also sheds light on the cultural and historical context of Lincoln’s era. It provides insight into the challenges and opportunities of life in the mid-19th century. The politics of the Civil War era, and the social and cultural norms of the time. This makes the book a valuable resource for historians, scholars, and anyone interested in American history and culture.


In terms of impact, “Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories” has had a lasting influence on American culture and politics. The book has been widely read and referenced in the decades since its publication. Many of the stories it contains have become part of the American literary and cultural canon. Moreover, the book has inspired other writers and commentators to explore the art of storytelling in politics and leadership. And to use humor and wit to connect with audiences.


However, the book is not without its limitations. Some of the stories may seem dated or politically incorrect by modern standards. Some of readers may find the humor and language of the book inaccessible or unappealing. Moreover, the book provides only a partial view of Lincoln’s life and legacy. Focusing primarily on his wit and humor rather than his policies and accomplishments as a president.


“Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories” is a valuable and engaging book. That provides insight into the personality and communication style of one of America’s most beloved presidents. It showcases Lincoln’s wit, humor, and wisdom, and highlights the importance of storytelling in politics and leadership. While it may not provide a complete picture of Lincoln’s life and legacy. It is a valuable resource for anyone interested in American history, culture, and leadership.