- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: Liveright; 1St Edition edition (February 3, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0871404273
- ISBN-13: 978-0871404275
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 83 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,067,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I Am Abraham: A Novel of Lincoln and the Civil War Hardcover – February 3, 2014
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Charyn faces the daunting task of fictionalizing the life of an American icon, but does so with aplomb. He traces the course of Abraham Lincoln’s life and times, utilizing the specter of mental illness within his family as a literary device connecting all the dots into a full-bodied portrait of the beloved, reviled, and doomed sixteenth president of the U.S. Beginning with Lincoln’s early years in Illinois, he traces his often tortuous path from the prairie to the presidency. By employing a first-person narrative, he is able to inject Lincoln’s inimitable intelligence, wit, and compassion into every page, as his homespun humor is underscored with his trademark pathos and humanity. As the nation arrives at the brink of destruction and his own family faces their own monumental struggles under the national microscope, the range and depth of his commitment to his family and to his country are revealed. The legend of Lincoln continues to fascinate, and this compulsively readable fictional autobiography approaches the man and the myth from a fresh new angle. --Margaret Flanagan
“Thoughtful, observant and droll.”
- Richard Brookhiser, New York Times Book Review
“I Am Abraham is not only the best novel about President Lincoln since Gore Vidal’s Lincoln in 1984, but it is also twice as good to read.”
- Gabor Boritt, author of The Lincoln Enigma and recipient of the National Humanities Medal
“Jerome Charyn [is] a fearless writer… Brave and brazen… The book is daringly imagined, written with exuberance, and with a remarkable command of historical detail. It gives us a human Lincoln besieged by vividly drawn enemies and allies… Placing Lincoln within the web ordinary and sometimes petty human relations is no small achievement.”
- Andrew Delbanco, New York Review of Books
“Audacious as ever, Jerome Charyn now casts his novelist’s gimlet eye on sad-souled Abraham Lincoln, a man of many parts, who controls events and people―wife, sons, a splintering nation―even though they often are, as they must be, beyond his compassion or power. Brooding, dreamlike, resonant, and studded with strutting characters, I Am Abraham is as wide and deep and morally sure as its wonderful subjects.”
- Brenda Wineapple, author of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compassion: 1848-1877
“If all historians―or any historian―could write with the magnetic charm and authoritative verve of Jerome Charyn, American readers would be fighting over the privilege of learning about their past. They can learn much from this book―an audacious, first-person novel that makes Lincoln the most irresistible figure of a compelling story singed with equal doses of comedy, tragedy, and moral grandeur. Here is something beyond history and approaching art.”
- Harold Holzer, chairman, Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation
“Jerome Charyn is one of the most important writers in American literature.”
- Michael Chabon
“Jerome Charyn is merely one of our finest writers with a polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing. Whatever milieu he chooses to inhabit, his characters sizzle with life, and his sentences are pure vernacular music, his voice unmistakable.”
- Jonathan Lethem
“Charyn, like Nabokov, is that most fiendish sort of writer―so seductive as to beg imitation, so singular as to make imitation impossible.”
- Tom Bissell
“The novel… succeeds in making the legendary figure more accessible, using Lincoln’s lifelong battle with depression as an avenue through which to explore his life and perspective…. A warts-and-all portrayal, not only of the lead, but of central supporting figures, most especially his tempestuous and difficult wife, Mary. Charyn has managed to craft a fictional autobiography that rings emotionally true.”
- Publishers Weekly
“Charyn faces the daunting task of fictionalizing the life of an American icon, but does so with aplomb. …By employing a first-person narrative, he is able to inject Lincoln’s inimitable intelligence, wit, and compassion into every page, as his homespun humor is underscored with his trademark pathos and humanity…. The legend of Lincoln continues to fascinate, and this compulsively readable fictional autobiography approaches the man and the myth from a fresh new angle.”
- Margaret Flanagan, Booklist
“One of our most intriguing fiction writers takes on the story of Honest Abe, narrating the tale in Lincoln’s voice and offering a revealing portrait of a man as flawed as he was great.”
- Abbe Wright, O, The Oprah Magazine
“Jerome Charyn, like Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s superb 2012 movie, manages a feat of ventriloquism to be admired… Most of all, Lincoln comes across as human and not some remote giant… With that, Jerome Charyn has given Lincoln a most appropriate present for what would have been his 205th birthday this month: rebirth not as a marble memorial but as a three-dimensional human who overcame much to save his nation.”
- Erik Spanberg, Christian Science Monitor
“In the vast literature of Lincolniana, an honorable… place will be made for it, a considerably more inviting one than that occupied since 1984 by Gore Vidal’s ponderous, self-important Lincoln.”
- Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
“Daring… Memorable… Charyn’s richly textured portrait captures the pragmatism, cunning, despair, and moral strength of a man who could have empathy for his bitterest foes, and who ‘had never outgrown the forest and a dirt floor.’”
- The New Yorker
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The mark of any good writer is the power to firmly take hold of the reader, and not let go until the very last word. Jerome Charyn has the power to do just that!
"I am Abraham" will literally transport you back in time; back in the period of the Civil War, and the life of Abraham Lincoln. You will experience Lincoln's life; celebrate his triumphs, as well as suffer his losses. You will hear Lincoln speak, as he narrates the events in his life.
Jerome Charyn is Lincoln. Reading this, I honestly believe that the actual spirit of Abraham Lincoln took possessionof Charyn, and through the author's hand, wrote his own personal, intimate autobiography.
You do not simply read "I am Abraham"; you experience it.
For instance, the first time Lincoln meets Stanton, and his determination to relearn the law after that early event would have been entertaining. Nonetheless, it was a good read I hope we see more efforts at hearing Lincoln in his own voice.
Makes the mythological/hero Lincoln much more human and approachable, and makes it clear how accidental or lucky the ascent of great figures can be.