Mourning Lincoln & Lincoln's Body: Two New Books on the President's Death

Pat Young

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Pat Young

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Here are the two books:

MOURNING LINCOLN

By Martha Hodes

Illustrated. 396 pp. Yale University Press. $30.

LINCOLN’S BODY

A Cultural History

By Richard Wightman Fox

Illustrated. 416 pp. W. W. Norton & Company. $28.95
 

chellers

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As we approach the 150th Anniversary of the assassination of Lincoln, the New York Times has a review of two new books on his death. Historian Jill Lepore has the lead review in this week's Times Book Review.

Here is the joint review of Mourning Lincoln and LIncoln's Body:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/b...lincoln-and-lincolns-body.html?ref=books&_r=0
Thanks for posting the review, Mr. Young.

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/mourning-lincoln.104507/

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/lincolns-body-a-cultural-history.106243/
 

Pat Young

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From the review:

Fox, a professor of history at the University of Southern California, writes, “For four years he had flung his door open to all who entered the White House, and here, at the very end, he was still welcoming the common people to his side.”
 

Pat Young

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More:

Hodes, a professor of history at New York University, offers a darker account. “The Civil War was a revolutionary war, and Lincoln’s assassination complicated its ending,” she argues. Reading thousands of diaries and letters written by ordinary Americans in the days and weeks after Lincoln’s death, she finds little evidence of national unity in the face of tragedy; instead, she finds shock, jubilation, confusion and, above all, disagreement.
 

Pat Young

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More:

“Mourning Lincoln” is a close and deeply disturbing study of how it seemed, to Americans who disagreed with one another, that “Lincoln’s assassination stopped the world.” “Lincoln’s Body” is an astonishingly interesting interpretation of the uses to which Lincoln has been put in the century and a half since, in speeches and statues, in plays and films, in poems and paintings.
 

Pat Young

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What do you think?

Abraham Lincoln was the best president the United States has ever had. But we live inside his tomb. For a very long time now, too many Americans have found it easier to think about Lincoln’s body — that brawn, that bullet — than about the bodies of the millions of men, women and children who had been kept in slavery, bodies stolen, shackled, hunted, whipped, branded, raped, starved, bodies stolen, shackled, hunted, whipped, branded, raped, starved, murdered and buried in unmarked graves. The mourning of LIncoln has come at the expense of mourning them.
 

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Thank you for the post. I am waiting for the rabid hounds to tear apart Lepore's final paragraph:

Abraham Lincoln was the best president the United States has ever had. But we live inside his tomb. For a very long time now, too many Americans have found it easier to think about Lincoln’s body — that brawn, that bullet — than about the bodies of the millions of men, women and children who had been kept in slavery, bodies stolen, shackled, hunted, whipped, branded, raped, starved, murdered and buried in unmarked graves. The mourning of Lincoln has come at the expense of mourning them. And what of the grief on the streets of American cities where the cry rises (because, a century and a half after Booth shot Lincoln, the argument still needs making): Black lives matter. And still the bullets volley, and fall and clatter.
 

CheathamHill

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And what of his murder? “The blast of the derringer at Ford’s Theater on the night of April 14, 1865, was the first volley of the war that came after Appomattox — a war on black freedom and equality,” Hodes writes. That war isn’t over.
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That the most non-review "review" I've ever read. Did Lepore read more than the blurbs? Martha Hodes spoke at our CWRT two weeks ago and gave a wonderful presentation. I have the book, but haven't read it yet. In any event, I think it deserves a more attentive NYT review than it received.
 



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