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Lincoln on the verge : thirteen days to Washington

by Widmer, Edward L.,

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 5 copies
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Mt. Lebanon Public Library New Books 973.7092 Wid
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Call Number  973.7092 Wid
Sewickley Public Library New Book 973.7 WID 2020
Location  Sewickley Public Library
Collection  New Book
Call Number  973.7 WID 2020
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"Widmer brings off his panoramic, almost mystical interpretation with riveting panache. His book is not only a historical achievement but a literary one." -- The Wall Street Journal

"A Lincoln classic...superb....So much has been written about Abraham Lincoln that it's rare when a historian discovers an episode in his life that, if fully developed and interpreted, yields important new insights. Ted Widmer has done just that..." ­-- The Washington Post

As a divided nation plunges into the deepest crisis in its history, Abraham Lincoln boards a train for Washington and his inauguration--an inauguration Southerners have vowed to prevent by any means necessary. Drawing on new research, this account reveals the President-Elect as a work in progress, showing him on the verge of greatness, foiling an assassination attempt, and forging an unbreakable bond with the American people.

On the eve of his 52nd birthday, February 11, 1861, the President-Elect of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, walked onto a train, the first step of his journey to the White House, and his rendezvous with destiny.

But as the train began to carry Lincoln toward Washington, it was far from certain what he would find there. Bankrupt and rudderless, the government was on the verge of collapse. To make matters worse, reliable intelligence confirmed a conspiracy to assassinate him as he passed through Baltimore. It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of the Republic hung in the balance.

How did Lincoln survive this grueling odyssey, to become the president we know from the history books? Lincoln on the Verge tells the story of a leader discovering his own strength, improvising brilliantly, and seeing his country up close during these pivotal thirteen days.

From the moment the Presidential Special left the station, a new Lincoln was on display, speaking constantly, from a moving train, to save the Republic. The journey would draw on all of Lincoln's mental and physical reserves. But the President-Elect discovered an inner strength, which deepened with the exhausting ordeal of meeting millions of Americans.

Lincoln on the Verge tells the story of America's greatest president and the obstacles he overcame, well before he could take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Historian Widmer debuts with a kaleidoscopic account of president-elect Abraham Lincoln's 13-day journey from Springfield, Ill., to Washington, D.C., for his 1861 inauguration. Positioning the trip as an "odyssey to save democracy," Widmer meticulously details each stop along the way, describing large crowds teetering between festive and threatening, and highlights the increasing danger Lincoln faced from would-be assassins on the way to the capital. Interspersed are sketches of historical figures, including John D. Rockefeller, then 20, and Grace Bedell, the 12-year-old girl who advised Lincoln to grow his beard, and vivid recreations of emerging industrial powerhouses such as Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Widmer accentuates Lincoln's tenuous political situation by drawing parallels to Jefferson Davis's concurrent journey from Mississippi to Alabama to accept the presidency of the Confederacy. Widmer's exploration of this historical footnote delivers real depth, though allusions to the Iliad and the Odyssey, including multiple comparisons of the railroad to the Trojan horse, feel forced and overly grandiose. Nevertheless, history buffs will be entertained and enlightened by this unique view of Lincoln and the country on the cusp of war. (Apr.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the city in which Lincoln's trip originated."
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Additional Information
Subjects Lincoln, Abraham, -- 1809-1865 -- Travel -- Washington (D.C.)
Lincoln, Abraham, -- 1809-1865.
Presidents -- United States -- Biography.
United States -- History -- 1849-1877.
Publisher New York :2020
Edition First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
Language English
Description xii, 606 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 475-583) and index.
ISBN 9781476739434
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