x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Book review: Karl Weber's Lincoln nicely fills out portrayal of legend

Lincoln : A President for the Ages is a collection of essays released to tie in with the acclaimed film starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

Lincoln: A President for the Ages
Karl Weber
PublicAffairs, US

Everybody in the United States wants a piece of Abe Lincoln. The pro-gun lobby. The anti-gun lobby. Those who believe in less federal government. Those who want more. There seems to be a quote from the first widely photographed US president to suit just about every point of view.

And, as this book of collected essays on Lincoln, released to tie in with the Daniel Day-Lewis' screen portrayal, shows this is not a modern phenomenon. Even those who knew Lincoln well when he was alive seemed not to really see the full picture. He was a conundrum to his contemporaries. Weber has brought together an eclectic collection of essays, some fascinating, some a little bit weird, with theories about the great man and his views on a variety of topics. Quite apart from his leadership of the Union during the US Civil War and the abolition of slavery, he was behind an amazing array of government measures which would have made him a legend even if the 1861-65 conflict had never happened. Great to dip in and out of as the fancy takes you.

* Frank Patrick Morgan