Book Review: The Rail Splitter by John Cribb

June 29, 2023


The Rail Splitter by John Cribb is a historical fiction story of a young Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Cribb is a best-selling author of fiction and non-fiction books.

  • 384 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Republic Book Publishers
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1645720640

Book Review: The Rail Splitter by John Cribb
My rating for The Rail Splitter – 4
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This is a very charming book, following the footsteps of Lincoln before he started running, and eventually become, America’s 16th President. The title of the book takes its name from Lincoln’s nickname, which originated in the 1860 Illinois State Republican Convention. The nickname brought awareness to candidate Lincoln’s humble beginnings before pursuing law and political office.

The Rail Splitter by John Cribb seems to me more of a book for young adults (YA), this is, after all, a coming of age story. Maybe because I’m reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin at the same time. While Ms. Goodwin’s book is not in the author’s bibliography, they complement each other in several aspects of Lincoln’s early life.

I could certainly tell that Mr. Cribb had a lot of fun writing this book. Several historians have mentioned that the President has an excellent sense of humor, and Mr. Cribb certainly capitalized on that with some folksy jokes sprinkled throughout. That being said, the book is expertly researched, books like this should be the standard for historical fiction. One could learn a lot from books like this if reading hard-core history books is not up our alley.

There are some things that I wish the author included, such as Mr. Lincoln’s struggles with mental health – before we had a name for it. I feel that it would have certainly helped many readers which this book targets, to know that even a great man like him was human.

The book ends right before Lincoln starts his campaign for the highest office in the land. The book continues with Old Abe, which was previously published by Mr. Cribb.


Abraham Lincoln grows up on the frontier. His father needs help on the farm, but the bookish young man wants adventures, rafting down the Mississippi and going off to war. Teaching himself law, Abraham enters politics with the encouragement of his wife, Mary.

Congressman Lincoln’s political career is not stellar. The family is devastated by the loss of their child, but when the debate about slavery sweeps the country, Lincoln finds a cause worthy cause to enter politics.

Buy The Rail Splitter from*
More Books by John Cribb*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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