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If You Loved Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
I love reading about history and more specifically American history. And my 3 favorite era’s are: Revolutionary War, Civil War and World War II.

Geez, now that I look at it, it would seem I like war! No, but the most interesting events and characters seem to emerge in times of crisis.

One of the characters that emerged, of course, was Abraham Lincoln. Steven Spielberg has produced and directed one of the greatest films of the year (and the greatest film in history dealing with the 16th President). “Lincoln” is one of the front runners for Academy Awards in a number of categories, including Best Picture.

If the movie has sparked an interest in Lincoln and his era, I have a couple books you really need to take a look at. Of the, oh, hundred or so books I have on the President and the Civil War, 2 stand out as exceptional.

The first one is the book that much of the movie is based on, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals”. The book goes way beyond the movie, in that it explores the Presidential race of 1860 and the political genius of Lincoln. No, he was not the “backwoods corn-pone” that many books try to paint him. He was arguably the greatest politician of his time, or any time. Goodwin’s book reads like a novel (all of her books do, she has great biographies of FDR and LBF too, along with others). If you see a Doris Kearns Goodwin book, go ahead, pick it up. You’ll be glad you did.

The other book I thought was absolutely extraordinary is James Swanson’s “Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase For Lincoln’s Killer”. Swanson paints a fantastic picture, beginning with the assassination that shocked the country and continuing through the following days as John Wilkes Booth attempted to flee into the south. Believe me, this wasn’t a lone gunman and the story of his capture reads like a novel.

Now, on the other hand, if you’re a fan of that other Lincoln movie of 2012…what was it? Something about Abe being a Vampire killer? Well, if that’s something you want to pursue and read about, these 2 books might not be for you. There’s not a “walking-dead” to be found.

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