And There Was Light Book Summary - And There Was Light Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

And There Was Light summary

Jon Meacham

Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle

4.6 (75 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

And There Was Light by Jon Meacham is a biography of the life and achievements of Thomas Edison, highlighting his entrepreneurial spirit, innovative ideas, and lasting influence on modern technology.

Table of Contents

    And There Was Light
    Summary of 8 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 8

    Early Life

    Though a gifted, persuasive speaker, there was one subject about which Abraham Lincoln was less than loquacious: his background. Once, when a correspondent asked for information about his upbringing, Lincoln responded: “There is not much of it, for the reason, I suppose, that there is not much of me.”

    Lincoln was embarrassed by his humble origins in rural Kentucky. His mother, Nancy, had frequently been the subject of rumors, thanks to her family’s reputation for promiscuity. Meanwhile, his father, Thomas, was the youngest son of a large family and had been orphaned at the age of six. As a result, he was never educated, illiterate, and unable to write anything lengthier than his name.

    Abe Lincoln’s early years weren’t exactly cheerful ones. Growing up in Kentucky, the winters were cold and bleak. His toes stuck out of his threadbare boots and his clothes were tattered and worn. His family’s farm, Knob Creek, lived up to its name: full of thick, knobby cedar trees spread across deep ravines.

    As a child, his father hired his son out to the neighbors and then took his wages. Lincoln resented this all his life and once even remarked, “I used to be a slave.” The experience made such an impression on him that it may have informed his antislavery views as an adult. Making his life even more difficult, he became motherless at the age of nine after Nancy fell sick and died.

    Unlike his father, young Abe received a little formal education –⁠ less than a year –⁠ which proved to be invaluable. Specifically, he learned to write. Afterward, he wrote everywhere, scrawling letters with pieces of charcoal in the dust, the sand, and the snow. Lincoln was obsessed with learning and possessed an innate curiosity. Books were his escape. He read voraciously, and what he read created his intellectual and moral foundation.

    Religiously, young Abe was exposed to the Baptist faith. In Baptist churches, opposition to slavery was common and abolition a frequent topic. The Lincolns were also members of the Baptist Licking-Locust Association Friends of Humanity –⁠ which was also known as an “emancipation association.” Later, Lincoln would claim that he was “naturally antislavery.” He wasn’t just embellishing the truth for political gain.

    Want to see all full key ideas from And There Was Light?

    Key ideas in And There Was Light

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is And There Was Light about?

    And There Was Light (2022) is a biography of Abraham Lincoln that takes a nuanced look at a complex leader. Focusing especially on Lincoln’s evolving views on and actions around slavery, it’s a picture of a man who wrestled with his moral convictions while attempting to hold together a divided nation. Echoes of that struggle still ring out today, making it essential to keep Lincoln’s story at the forefront of American consciousness.

    And There Was Light Review

    And There Was Light (2017) is a captivating biography that sheds light on the extraordinary life of Jon Meacham. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a deep exploration of Meacham's personal journey, from his humble beginnings to becoming a renowned historian and author.
    • This book provides insights into key historical events and political figures, giving readers a more nuanced understanding of American history.
    • With its engaging storytelling and Meacham's eloquent prose, it transforms what could be a dry historical account into a fascinating narrative.

    Who should read And There Was Light?

    • American history enthusiasts
    • People interested in controversial historical figures
    • Budding political pundits looking to add to their historical knowledge

    About the Author

    Jon Meacham is a historian, biographer, and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion. He currently serves as the Canon Historian of the Washington National Cathedral and contributes to the New York Times Book Review as well as other publications. His numerous New York Times best-selling books include His Truth Is Marching On, The Soul of America, Thomas Jefferson, and Destiny and Power.

    Categories with And There Was Light

    Book summaries like And There Was Light

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    And There Was Light FAQs 

    What is the main message of And There Was Light?

    The main message of And There Was Light is overcoming adversity through the power of resilience and faith.

    How long does it take to read And There Was Light?

    The reading time for And There Was Light varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is And There Was Light a good book? Is it worth reading?

    And There Was Light is a remarkable book that offers a poignant and inspiring account of triumph over darkness. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of And There Was Light?

    Jon Meacham is the author of And There Was Light.

    What to read after And There Was Light?

    If you're wondering what to read next after And There Was Light, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
    • The Soul of America by Jon Meacham
    • You Never Forget Your First by Alexis Coe
    • Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard
    • American Lion by Jon Meacham
    • Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips
    • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    • Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss
    • American Prometheus by Kai Bird & Martin J Sherwin
    • American Carnage by Tim Alberta