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Abraham Lincoln, A Novel Life Paperback – February 1, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Wolk has taught English at Portland State University since 1965, specializing in Renaissance literature, science fiction, and writing classes.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ooligan Press (February 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932010009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932010008
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,504,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a very generous story that, by its end, is both too brief in the telling and too large to be consumed in one lifetime (unless you're a person of considerable leisure.). Wolk's Lincoln is a complex, good man: a fish out of water learning to swim in the air of his era's Washington politics and, for a little over one day, of that in 1950's Evanston Illinois. This is, in part, a time-travel story that, wisely, doesn't try to diagram the possible intricacies, collisions, paradoxes, and contradictions of such an action--Wolk does give us Professor Moebius' twisted loop as a simple metaphor, although Lincoln himself, avoids prolonged consideration of that model after his return.

By the end of the story, I felt very attached to Lincoln, to Martha, his wife, and to Joan, his friend and lover in the 20th century. While Lincoln, his wife Mary, his cabinet, the country, are mostly living through the most trying of times, undergoing personal and public tragedies, the writing stays economical and compassionate without being weak or sentimental. Lincoln looks at his trip to the future as a brief reprieve, assumes it was real (there is no, and then I woke up moment, in this story), a gift, and while it changes him, it doesn't distract him from his work, even though while in Evanston he has learned his fate. There is no flag-waving call to duty; just people who struggle with the consequences of their actions but who also have to live.
Wolk is a Shakespearean and a Lincoln scholar, and the Lincoln of this story certainly knows his Shakespeare. Quotes from Henry V in the story provide insights into Lincoln, some veiled, some that may drive you to the play to discover other Henry V passages that apply to Lincoln but do not appear in the book (especially lines where Henry is wooing Kate).
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Format: Paperback
I will admit, if Abraham Lincoln really did jump forward in time, I can see him handling it with the same equanimity he did in this novel—he was very much a “roll up your sleeves and get to it” kind of guy. Lincoln’s character was engaging and decently written for the most part, though he did tend to speechify excessively (even our sixteenth president can’t be a fortune cookie-like fount of wisdom every time he opens his mouth).
Still, this book didn’t amount to much more than Abraham Lincoln fanfiction—boring fanfiction at that. One-dimensional love interest, unconvincing romance, “someone to remember me by” ending and all. The novel was also twice as long as it needed to be—most of the second half wasn’t at all necessary to the story. I had difficulty engaging with this story, let alone finishing it. Since Lincoln had his charming moments, I’ll grant this book two stars.
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Format: Paperback
I did not expect to like this book, at least not as much as I do. It's such a strange premise, and why Abraham Lincoln? It was surprisingly really interesting and enjoyable, though, with a great twist. The bits about the specific battles and generals in the Civil War dragged a little bit, mostly because they were largely summary rather than present action, but otherwise, the story was compelling, the characters in both Lincoln's (normal) time and Joan's time were interesting, and while it appeared at first to try to paint Lincoln as this paragon of perfection, other perspectives were eventually (at least somewhat) represented, including his own, near the end. I wish I could give this 4.5 stars, because that's how I really feel about it--it was just those bits that dragged that I took issue with. I'm really excited to read the next two books in this trilogy.
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Format: Paperback
Honestly, this book was a complete and utter bafflement. I've read stories about historical figures before, but this was the first one to include time travel! I was surprised, and immediately intrigued, but the time elements included in this story--especially since one character seems to exist in both our present and Lincoln's time as well.

Some of the prose can be a little dry for someone not fascinated by history, but history buffs looking for a new twist on events and looking to break outside the realms of American history will happy to pick up this page-turner for a fun-filled Friday night's read.
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Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. Have you ever wondered what a wonderful personality of the past might think if he or she were suddenly standing in a different era? Lincoln sees cars, a "modern" 50's kitchen, and interesting clothing as he walks into 1955 for a day. It's a day that changes the entire life of Joan, who meets him there. The reader has the opportunity to get personal with these characters in this novel. And I've heard Tony Wolk is continuing this wonderful tale in his next book--I can't wait.
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Format: Paperback
I must begin by saying this is not the kind of book I usually read, nor am I likely to be the demographic for this book. I read neither historical fiction, nor sci-fi. That said, I actually enjoyed this book. It was a fun and engaging read, and while not my favorite book of all time, I’m glad I read it.
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