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Author Name:    VIDAL, Gore LINCOLN, Abraham

Title:   Lincoln.: A Novel.. First Edition in dustjacket

Publisher:    Random House, New York, 1984, ISBN:0394528956 

Seller ID:   5968

VIDAL, Gore. Lincoln : A Novel. New York : Random House, (1984). First Trade Edition. Pp (10),[3]-657,(7). 8vo, brown cloth, gilt titles and red mettalic lines to front board and spine. "At dawn on a cold winter morning in 1861 Abraham Lincoln, President-elect of a disintegrating United States, alights from his train in Washingon, D.C., flanked by two bodyguards in plain clothes,. The future President is himself in disguise, for there is talk of a plot to murder him before his inauguration a few weeks hence. During the next four years there will be numerous plots to murder this man who has sworn to unite the nation that has split apart over slavery. From within his circle there will also be a profusion of schemes to succeed him as President. Meanwhile, Lee's armies are beating at the gates of the beleagured capital as Lincoln seeks a Union general equal to the dreadful conflict.Isolated in the ramshackle White House in the center of a pro-slavery city, Lincoln presides over a government that is itself fragmented. Even Lincoln's fellowRepublicans treat him with contempt, call him "Honest Ape," accuse him of weakness and vacillation, then of high-handedness and dictatorship. In thisprofoundly moving historical novel, a work of epic proportion and intense human sympathy - the triumphant cornerstone of Gore Vidal's American chronicle, which includes Burr, 1876, and Washington, D.C. - Lincoln is observed by his loved ones, his rivals, his future assassins. The result is a portrait of America's great President that is at once intimate and monumental, stark and complex, and that will become for this and future generations the living Lincoln of the war years.Vidal's Lincoln emerges as he is seen by hiswife, Mary, who adores him even as she is going mad; by the Machivellian S ecretary of State, Seward, who begins by scorning Lincoln and ends by worshipping him; by Lincoln's rival, Salmon P. Chase, and his beautiful daughter, Kate; by David Herold, the druggist's clerk at the center of the plot that will eventually take Lincoln's life; and by the twenty-three-year-old presidential secretary, John Hay, who comes to know Lincoln intimately during his four years in the White House and who realizes, as will the reader, that had there been no Lincoln, there would be no nation.Lincoln is a brilliantly realized, vividly imagined work of fiction in which most of the events and much of the dialogue are actual. The reader becomes, from the first pages, part of the tragic but also intimate action within the White House and the capital city intself. He sees the wartime leader as a living presence in the corridors of the White House - at night, "in a shirt bunched up in back like an ostrich," in despair over the vagaries of his generals and the approaching madness of his beloved wife, wracked by the death of his son, Willie, and in the somber moment of his triumph. Vidal's great achievement inthis novel is to render the tragic President in all his grandeur and yet i ntimately, so that the reader comes to know the legendary Lincoln as a fellow human being. Lincoln is the brilliant climax not only of Vidal's ongoingchronicle of the American past but also of his own extraordinary literary career." (from the dj). Small inked notation to flyleaf, else very good in edge-sunned dustjacket. 25.00


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