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The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; F First Edition edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030727263X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307272638
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #529,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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, Bloomberg.com 
 
“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 Carter draws on historical documents and a vivid imagination to render a fascinating mix of murder mystery, political thriller, and courtroom drama .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 the author of eight books of nonfiction, writes a column for Bloomberg View, and is a frequent contributor to The Daily Beast and Newsweek. The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln is his fifth novel.

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Customer Reviews

Also, I like a loose end or two at the end of a book but this one has too many.
EWebb
Good historical novel, well written and very good fictional story that was integrated into real history.
ruben
The story is riveting, the characters are interesting, well written and completely believable.
Jeanne Tassotto

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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 By rgregg VINE VOICE on June 12, 2012
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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What if the president survived the assassination attempt, only to face an impeachment trial two years later? That's the premise of this stout, absorbing tale. But Carter, with an almost mesmerizing touch, weaves more than a "what if" story here. What most engaged me is the way that Carter liberated himself from any stilted, biased or passive political ranting of his own. Instead of telegraphing his views into the characters, he allowed history to inform us, while never forgetting to hook us with an invented story within the framework of an intense and complex time in history.

In 1867, the war has been over for two years. Andrew Johnson, not Abe Lincoln, was shot and killed by Booth. And Secretary of State William Seward has been so wounded that he doesn't leave his house anymore. And the president's wife has died a year ago from a mysterious accident. This is the alternate history that Carter has meticulously woven together. Lincoln faces an impeachment trial from Congress on four counts due to his policies (or lack thereof) and intercessions (or lack thereof) during Reconstruction: 1) suspension of habeas corpus, 2) seizing of telegrams and shuttering a handful of newspapers 3) not sufficiently protecting the freedmen in the southern states 4) conspiring with the military officers to overthrow the constitutional forms of government.

This finely nuanced and well-paced novel is packed with fully realized characters and situations. Of course, with a cast this extensive, and numerous plots within plots, some characters are there to lend background and color, or to promote a larger connection. There are plots and subplots, romance, adventure, conspiracies, and even murder.
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