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Lincoln: A Novel (The American Chronicle Series) Paperback – February 15, 2000
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Lincoln is a masterwork of historical fiction, in which Gore Vidal combines a comprehensive knowledge of Civil War America with 20th-century literary technique, probing the minds and motives of the men surrounding Abraham Lincoln, including personal secretary John Hay and scheming cabinet members William Seward and Salmon P. Chase, as well as his wife, Mary Todd. It is a book monumental in scope that never loses sight of the intimate and personal in its depiction of the power struggles that accompanied Lincoln's efforts to preserve the Union at all costs--efforts in which the eradication of slavery was far from the president's main objective. As usual, there's plenty of room for Vidal's wickedly humorous deflation of American icons, including a comic interlude in a Washington bordello in which Lincoln's former law partner informs Hay that Lincoln had contracted syphilis as a young man and had, just before marrying Mary Todd, suffered what can only be described as a nervous breakdown. (Protestors should note that Vidal is only passing along what that former partner had written in his own biography of Lincoln.) Don't be intimidated by the size of Lincoln; if you like historical fiction, you should read this book at the first opportunity. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Superb . . . a grand entertainment. . . . A plausible and human Lincoln, of us and yet beyond us." --Harold Bloom
"A portrait of America's great president that is at once intimate and public, stark and complex, and that will become for future generations the living Lincoln, the definitive Lincoln. . . . Richly entertaining . . . history lessons with the blood still hot." --The Washington Post
"[Lincoln] is in Vidal's version at once more complex, mysterious and enigmatic, more implacably courageous and, finally, more tragic than the conventional images, the marble man of the memorial. He is honored in the book." --Chicago Tribune
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I've always heard Gore Vidal does his homework and write very accurate books. His portrayal of Salmon Chase (Secretary of Treasury and Lincoln's chief political rival) as well as Mary Todd Lincoln (Lincoln's wife) are a bit harsh. I don't know enough history to know if they were really like that but man... those are some awful people in the book.
it is worth reading because of the insight it gives into politics, war and the history of our country.