- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (February 8, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393352633
- ISBN-13: 978-0393352634
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,001,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lincoln's Body: A Cultural History 1st Edition
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“Highly readable . . . Skillfully depicts how varied have been the uses that Americans have made of their greatest president.”
- Michael Burlingame, Wall Street Journal
“Deftly traces the high-stakes cultural battle―waged in poetry, prose, art, and film―over the meaning of Lincoln, man and myth, from his day to our own.”
- Brenda Wineapple, author of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877
“With subtle analysis and supple writing, preeminent cultural historian Richard Wightman Fox is especially insightful on the African-American experiences of Lincoln. Readers will sense from the first page that this is a book they will want to linger over in their delight.”
- Ronald C. White Jr., author of A. Lincoln: A Biography
About the Author
Richard Wightman Fox is a professor of history at the University of Southern California and the author of Jesus in America and Trials of Intimacy, among other books. He lives in Venice, California.
Top customer reviews
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Richard Fox, professor of History at the University of Southern California, begins his book with Lincoln's assassination, a well-documented story. But he concentrates both on how Lincoln perceived himself before his death and how others perceived him after. His death on April 15, 1865, unleashed mourning throughout the country. An elaborate program of his body's laying-in-state in Washington, DC, as well as in selected cities on the train trip back to Springfield, Illinois, made the nation a partner in his family's grief. He was finally laid to a somewhat unquiet rest in Springfield.
In the succeeding years, monuments and statues were erected in his honor, books were written, and his legacy was being assessed. Was Abraham Lincoln an emancipator of slaves or the man who fought to hold together the Union? Or both? How would he have governed in those difficult days after the Civil War ended? Would he have welcomed the South back into the Union or would he have imposed harsh penalties? Certainly "his" Reconstruction would have been different than Andrew Johnson's.
Fox's excellent book examines how the regard for Abraham Lincoln has risen and fallen and risen again in the last 150 years. Was he the saint who had lost his one chance at love with Ann Rutledge's early death or was that romantic tripe, made up to soften Lincoln's image after his death. Was he a dreamer or a realist about our country's future. Perhaps the low point of the "Cult of Lincoln" was Gore Vidal's "fictional biography", "Lincoln", published in the mid-1980's, where he tries to "humanize" the president.
Richard Wightman Fox presents a nuanced look at the "Cult of Lincoln". His book is a very readable account of a time in America's history when our national view of a beloved figure was turned into a cultural icon.
Professor Fox is strongest when he is relating the factual history of the various physical representations of Abraham Lincoln over time, since the assassination and lengthy burial ritual to the present day's movie by Steven Spielberg. For example, the materiel on the spirited debate over the proper siting of the memorial in Washington,D. C., and then its eventual racially insensitive dedication is well done.
As is not uncommon of late with Lincoln commentary, the undertone of this book is decidedly prone to view our first Republican president as someone who would be in the camp of modern day Democrats.
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent different twist on familiar material. We'll worth reading for that reason alone.