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The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln [Kindle Edition]

Stephen L. Carter
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.96 (37%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

From the best-selling author of The Emperor of Ocean Park and New England White, a daring reimagining of one of the most tumultuous moments in our nation’s past
Stephen L. Carter’s thrilling new novel takes as its starting point an alternate history: President Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Two years later he is charged with overstepping his constitutional authority, both during and after the Civil War, and faces an impeachment trial . . .

Twenty-one-year-old Abigail Canner is a young black woman with a degree from Oberlin, a letter of employment from the law firm that has undertaken Lincoln’s defense, and the iron-strong conviction, learned from her late mother, that “whatever limitations society might place on ordinary negroes, they would never apply to her.” And so Abigail embarks on a life that defies the norms of every stratum of Washington society: working side by side with a white clerk, meeting the great and powerful of the nation, including the president himself.  But when Lincoln’s lead counsel is found brutally murdered on the eve of the trial, Abigail is plunged into a treacherous web of intrigue and conspiracy reaching the highest levels of the divided government.

Here is a vividly imagined work of historical fiction that captures the emotional tenor of post–Civil War America, a brilliantly realized courtroom drama that explores the always contentious question of the nature of presidential authority, and a galvanizing story of political suspense.

This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.

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Editorial Reviews


“With an encyclopedic command of period detail . . . Carter has created an entertaining story rooted in the legal, political and racial conflicts of 19th-century America. . . . Carter’s delight in all this material is infectious. He’s a fantastic legal dramatist, and there’s the constant pleasure of seeing his creation of Washington City in 1867, alive with sounds and smells. . . . History buffs can test their mettle by trying to unwind Carter’s entangling of fact and fiction, but anyone should enjoy this rich political thriller that dares to imagine how events might have ricocheted in a different direction after the Civil War.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“[T]he best legal thriller so far this year . . . I’ve liked Carter’s four previous forays into fiction. This one, I loved.”
—Patrik Henry Bass, Essence Magazine

“Washington readers will get a kick out of comparing Carter’s vivid portrait of late-19th-century DC with the city they know today. . . . But the best thing about sitting down with this rich, often thrilling novel is watching its alternative history unfold.”
—John Wilwol, The Washingtonian
“[T]he streets come alive in his vision of Washington . . . Carter’s tale comes to a conclusion as thrilling and untidy as the actual events that unfolded during the turbulent postwar years.”
—Andrew Dunn, 
“A smart and engaging what-if that has the virtue of being plausible . . . Abigail makes for a grandly entertaining sleuth.”
Kirkus Reviews 

“This novel has all the juicy stew of post–Civil War Washington, with the complexities of race, class, and sex mixed in. Carter draws on historical documents and a vivid imagination to render a fascinating mix of murder mystery, political thriller, and courtroom drama . . . Imaginatively conceived.”
—Vanessa Bush, Booklist (starred)

About the Author

STEPHEN L. CARTER is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University, where he has taught since 1982. He is also the author of seven books of nonfiction. He and his family live near New Haven, Connecticut.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1691 KB
  • Print Length: 530 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 030727263X
  • Publisher: Vintage (July 10, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,661 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-written return by Stephen Carter. May 23, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Stephen L Carter is a professor of law at Yale University and the author of five novels and many works of non-fiction. His first three novels were set in the black communities of New York City, New Haven, and Martha's Vinyard, among other places. His characters were members of that little-written about community, the "Talented Tenth", or the black upper class. Stephen Carter is a wonderful writer when writing on the history, community, and social lives of the "Talented Tenth". His fourth book, "Jericho's Fall", which was published in 2009 was a disappointment; it was a conventional spy thriller set in - Colorado. I read it, reviewed it, and gave it four stars. I wrote that Carter, after having written three marvelous novels, had returned with a middling story that took little advantage of what he, among few writers, really knew and could write well about. Well,the "old" Stephen L Carter has returned to us with his new novel, "The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln".

"Impeachment" takes an alternative history view of Abraham Lincoln's last years in office. Carter begins his book with Lincoln surviving the assassination attempt at Ford's Theater. John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators are hunted down and most were killed before they could talk. Lincoln continues as president, though in Carter's story, VP Andrew Johnson is killed and William Seward is so badly injured that he never leaves his home. Lincoln, therefore, carries on with the Reconstruction of the South. He wants to be relatively gentle on the returning Confederates and not impose the harsh citizenship and economic penalties that were actually meted out under Andrew Johnson. But Abraham Lincoln has as many enemies post war as he had during the war and opponents get together to bring a bill of impeachment against Lincoln.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Stephen Carter is a prolific writer who is known for his complex and detailed fiction such as "The Emperor of Ocean Park".
In "the Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln", he has taken on the task of writing a "what if" historical story with an intriguing premise.
What if Lincoln survived the attempt on his life by John Wilkes Booth? Carter has taken Lincoln to 1867 where he finds himself facing impeachment in the Senate for some of his actions after the Civil War in order to do what he felt was needed to stabilize the country.
The fascinating main character in this book is not Lincoln but a young black woman named Abigail Canner. She is a recent college graduate who is taking on a job as a law clerk at the law office of the firm who is responsible for defending the President.
Canner makes for a solid lead in this book as her feisty attitude, knowledge of the law, and determination to succeed is vital to the role she is about to play at the law firm. Her skin color is a key attribute in the novel and it both helps her and hurts her in various ways in post Civil War USA.
This is not simply a story of the impeachment trial. It covers many bases. Carter throws in a murder mystery, an examination of the social mores existing in Washington after the war, conspiracy theories, race relations, and political divides.
When one member of the defense team is found dead along with a supposed prostitute, Canner refuses to accept both the conclusions of the police and the relationship between the two murder victims. Her investigation into that issue is an interesting part of the book.
Canner finds herself torn between advancing her career, romantic sparks between herself and another member of the law firm and the prejudices of members of her own family and others.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
When you pick up a book entitled "The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln," it's natural to presume that the book is about an Abe Lincoln who lives to be impeached. You would, quite naturally, also assume that you would get a clear and concise explanation of the reasons why the impeachment took place, the principal players in the drama, and the impeachment proceedings itself.

Well... no. At best you get one out of the three- the proceedings and arguments, at least when the main characters can be bothered to attend the impeachment trial on the Senate floor.

The book is, in reality, a convoluted and unconvincing murder mystery, featuring conspiracies too confusing and inexplicable to be believed. The main character is a well-off free black woman with a college degree- which already overstretches the bounds of probability for 1867- who seeks to become a lawyer at a prestigious Washington law firm... at a time when there were only a handful of black lawyers in the whole nation, and no female lawyers whatever! The character by herself is so improbable that the author has to make repeated efforts to justify her existence- NOT a sign of good writing. Tack on to that an interracial romance or two... in the Reconstruction era... well, good-bye, credibility.

The reader is dropped straight into the impeachment crisis with absolutely no lead-in other than, "Lincoln took a bullet to the head from Booth and was up and about again in four days, yay Lincoln!" When looking for historical figures to gain a frame of reference, the reader is almost always disappointed: all but one or two of the principals are one-dimensional cardboard cutouts with all the personality of a theater lobby standie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
GREAT read
Published 17 days ago by Lynn Bradley
5.0 out of 5 stars great read.
Thoroughly enjoyed it. I really would recommend it. Good action set in a historically interesting time. I liked it enough that I bought his newest work.
Published 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars It could have happened.
Great yarn for alternative history. It was thoroughly enjoyable and I wasn't able to determine the resolution until it actually arrived. The protagonist, too, was very engaging.
Published 26 days ago by Dennis M. McNeil
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Was somewhat disappointed.
Published 1 month ago by Judith
4.0 out of 5 stars A good summer read but so VERY contrived
A good summer read but so VERY contrived. The protagonists are likeable and descriptions of Washington are fascinating but otherwise one cannot trust anything. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robin Schwarz
1.0 out of 5 stars If you know history this book will drive you crazy
I was intrigued by the title of this book, assuming that it would portray a "what if" type scenario following what would have happened if Lincoln was not assassinated by John... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Emily Seier
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting course of events
Stephen Carter's books have taught me (European citizen) a lot about the United States and its history, and this book is no exception. Recommended reading!
Published 2 months ago by Helen Derksen
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not really about Lincoln
The book's title is misleading; this book is about a black lawyer hired by the law firm that is defending Lincoln, who in the book did not die at Ford's Theater, from impeachment... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Linda D. Hardy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for lovers of historical fiction.
Thought-provoking analysis of the reasons for the war between the North and the South and the likely motives of "progressive" minded individuals.
Published 4 months ago by April Ramsey
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it.
Liked the way he wove fictional with factional. Well written. Look forward to reading more of his work in the future.
Published 4 months ago by Ann
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