Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Case of Abraham Lincoln: A Story of Adultery, Murder and the Making of a Great President

by Julie M. Fenster

From the critics:
By 1856, Abraham Lincoln was one of the most successful attorneys in Illinois. He had served a term in the U.S. Congress, but it appeared that he had abandoned a political career. However, as was observed, Lincoln's ambition was an engine that would not quit. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 had intensified the national debate over slavery, and it drew Lincoln back into political activism. At the same time, Lincoln accepted the task of defending a young man accused of murdering the husband of his lover. Fenster's absorbing chronicle follows two tracks: Lincoln's reentry into the tumultuous political wars in Illinois, as Democrats, Know-Nothings, and the newly formed Republican Party vied for power; and how the death of a Springfield blacksmith evolved into a sensational murder trial. When the two tracks merge, Fenster illustrates Lincoln's emergence as a cagey politician and eloquent antislavery voice with an enhanced national reputation. This is a worthy addition to our ever-expanding knowledge concerning America's secular saint. - Booklist

"Fenster's rhythms have Twain-like timing. . . . Grandiloquent statements, dark adumbrations of the president-to-be or the tragedies with which his name is now inescapably entwined, are not necessary. Fenster knows that." - Library Journal