I am excited to announce our first selection of 2015
I Am Abraham:
A Novel of Lincoln and the Civil War
I Am Abraham: A Novel of Lincoln and the Civil War is a fictionalized memoir that brings our 16th President to life. It is a wonderfully entertaining read and a very human portrait of Abraham Lincoln, his tremendous empathy, his relationships with his wife, family and with the Presidency.
The book was released last year and recommended to us here at Politics for the People by author Alex Myers as one of our holiday book suggestions. It was a top holiday pick for both the Lincoln Presidential Museum and Lincoln’s Cottage.
This is one book I know we will enjoy reading and discussing together!
I have included the publisher’s decription of the book below as well as a quote from Publisher’s Weekly. You can purchase the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or your local bookseller. This is a fitting read for us on the way to President’s Day, which is February 16th.
Our conference call with Jerome Charyn will be on Sunday, February 15th at 7 pm EST.
Here is what Publisher’s Weekly had to say:
“The novel… succeeds in making the legendary figure more accessible, using Lincoln’s lifelong battle with depression as an avenue through which to explore his life and perspective…. A warts-and-all portrayal, not only of the lead, but of central supporting figures, most especially his tempestuous and difficult wife, Mary. Charyn has managed to craft a fictional autobiography that rings emotionally true.”
Here is a description from Liveright, a division of W.W. Norton & Company,
the publisher of I Am Abraham:
“Narrated in Lincoln’s own voice, the tragicomic I Am Abraham promises to be the masterwork of Jerome Charyn’s remarkable career.
Since publishing his first novel in 1964, Jerome Charyn has established himself as one of the most inventive and prolific literary chroniclers of the American landscape. Here in I Am Abraham, Charyn returns with an unforgettable portrait of Lincoln and the Civil War. Narrated boldly in the first person, I Am Abraham effortlessly mixes humor with Shakespearean-like tragedy, in the process creating an achingly human portrait of our sixteenth President.
Tracing the historic arc of Lincoln’s life from his picaresque days as a gangly young lawyer in Sangamon County, Illinois, through his improbable marriage to Kentucky belle Mary Todd, to his 1865 visit to war-shattered Richmond only days before his assassination, I Am Abraham hews closely to the familiar Lincoln saga. Charyn seamlessly braids historical figures such as Mrs. Keckley—the former slave, who became the First Lady’s dressmaker and confidante—and the swaggering and almost treasonous General McClellan with a parade of fictional extras: wise-cracking knaves, conniving hangers-on, speculators, scheming Senators, and even patriotic whores.
We encounter the renegade Rebel soldiers who flanked the District in tattered uniforms and cardboard shoes, living in a no-man’s-land between North and South; as well as the Northern deserters, young men all, with sunken, hollowed faces, sitting in the punishing sun, waiting for their rendezvous with the firing squad; and the black recruits, whom Lincoln’s own generals wanted to discard, but who play a pivotal role in winning the Civil War. At the center of this grand pageant is always Lincoln himself, clad in a green shawl, pacing the White House halls in the darkest hours of America’s bloodiest war.
Using biblically cadenced prose, cornpone nineteenth-century humor, and Lincoln’s own letters and speeches, Charyn concocts a profoundly moral but troubled commander in chief, whose relationship with his Ophelia-like wife and sons—Robert, Willie, and Tad—is explored with penetrating psychological insight and the utmost compassion. Seized by melancholy and imbued with an unfaltering sense of human worth, Charyn’s President Lincoln comes to vibrant, three-dimensional life in a haunting portrait we have rarely seen in historical fiction.”