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Book Information: Lincoln

Lincoln (1984) [Novel]
by Gore Vidal Rating: Weighted - 7.5 / Average - 7.5 of 10 (2 votes) (Rate!)
Reviews: None (show them) Review!

Series: American Chronicles
Part: 4

Summary :

Lincoln is the cornerstone of Gore Vidal's fictional American Chronicles, which includes Burr, 1876, Washington, D.C., Empire, and Hollywood. It opens early on a frozen winter morning in 1861, when President-elect Abraham Lincoln slips into Washington, flanked by two bodyguards. The future president is in disguise, for there is talk of a plot to murder him. During the next four years there will be numerous plots to murder this man who has sworn to unite a disintegrating nation. Isolated in a ramshackle White House in the center of a proslavery city, Lincoln presides over a fragmenting government as Lee's armies beat at the gates. In this profoundly moving novel, a work of epic proportions and intense human sympathy, Lincoln is observed by his loved ones and his rivals. The cast of characters is almost Dickensian: politicians, generals, White House aides, newspapermen, Northern and Southern conspirators, amiably evil bankers, and a wife slowly going mad. Vidal's portrait of the president is at once intimate and monumental, stark and complex, drawn with the wit, grace, and authority of one of the great historical novelists.

Original title: Lincoln
Original languages: English


Genre: FictionHistoricalNorth AmericaNineteenth Century


Edition #1: Lincoln

Lincoln (1984)
Edition Details:

Language: English

  • "Superb... a grand entertainment... an astonishing achievement... Vidal is a masterly American historical novelist." The New York Review of Books
  • "There are some wonderful things in Lincoln.... by far the most important is the presented character of Lincoln himself.... He is in Vidal's version at once more complex, and, finally, more tragic than the conventional public images, the marble man of the memorial. He is honored in his book." George Garrett Chicago Tribune
  • "The portrait is reasoned, judicious, straightforward and utterly convincing... even more compelling than Burr. In his ongoing chronicle of American history... Mr. Vidal is concerned with dissecting, obsessively and often brilliantly the roots of personal ambition as they give rise to history itself.... There are dramatic ironies which Mr. Vidal handles with exquisite tact and skill. His lincoln is not a debunked portrait by any means... and, as the novel runs its course he merges as a truly outstanding man." Joyce Carol Oates The New York Times Book Review
  • "The most vivid personage in the book is Mary Todd Lincoln. The author has taken her rages, her erratic behavior, her extravagance, her pretensions, and out of these, he has made her into a startling counterpart to Lincoln himself. His Mary Lincoln is another citizen consumed by the Civil War: loathing slavery—her denunciation of it is a brilliantly moving passage—loving her Southern connections, understanding her husband more profoundly than anyone else, all the while tormenting him more wretchedly than anyone else." Richard Eder Los Angeles Times
  • "With a kind of luxury that's rare these days, Vidal takes his reader through the Lincoln presidency conversation by conversation, detail by detail, intrigue by intrigue.... Overall, it remains a page-turner in a strangely compelling way." Eric Stange The Boston Herald
  • "RIchly entertaining... In his skeptical panorama of Civil War Washington, awash with fear, greed, ambition, and even nobility, Vidal obviously means to redress Sandburg's several-million-word saint's life. As he did in Burr and 1876, Vidal has used the newspapers, diaries and letters of the time to make a solid historical base; then, maintaining the third-person viewpoint, he lets us pry into the peculiar minds of his true-life characters. The result works like a talisman.... For the general reader the elegant explication of the issues of the day gives hearty satisfaction: history lessons with the blood still hot." Shelby Coffey III The Washington Post
  • "Vidal is the best all-around American man of letters since Edmund Wilson.... This is his most moving book." Walter Clemons Newsweek
  • "We come back to the man, again and again, wondering whether this deified figure in American history will reveal himself. He does, but his revelation is as indirect as the man himself, and therein lies Gore Vidal's literary triumph. There is no handy and cheap psychoanalysis here, but rather a careful scrutiny of the actions that spring from the core of Lincoln himself.... We are left to figure out the man as if he were a real person in our lives." Rita Mae Brown Chicago Sun Times
  • "Vidal... has found his truest subject, which is our national political history during precisely those years when our political and military histories were as one.... Vidal's imagination of American politics, then and now, is so powerful as to compel awe.... No biographer, and until now no novelist, has had the precision of imagination to show us a plausible and human Lincoln, of us and yet beyond us." Harold Bloom New York Review of Books
  • "Vidal's Lincoln is a brilliant marriage of fact and imagination. It's just about everything a novel should be—pleasure, information, moral insight. Vidal... gives us a man and time so alive and real that we see and feel them. And their imprint is so forcefully made that it's unlikely we will ever envision Lincoln and Civil War Washington again in the same way.... A superb book." Webster Schott Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • "When Vidal turns his hand to the serious business of bringing this nation's past to life in his historical fiction he has no peer. Lincoln is his masterpiece." John Barkham Reviews
  • "The best American historical novel I've read in recent years." Arthur Schelsinger, Jr. Vanity fair
  • "Here is historical fiction by one of our country's wittiest and most piercingly intelligent writers and essayists about one of the most crucial periods out of the American past.... There is a lot of history here, and much of it is fascinating, particularly the feel of the union's capital on the eve of the Civil War and the tension between Unionists and the secessionist factions." Alan Cheuse Los Angeles Herald Examiner
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Manifested in:

Lincoln (2000)

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Vintage Books
ISBN: 0375708766
Pages: 672

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