A Friend of Mr. Lincoln

A Friend of Mr. Lincoln

Book - 2016
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"The novel opens in 1832 in the Black Hawk War, when Micajah (Cage) Weatherby--an imaginary character--and Lincoln meet. Afterwards Cage musters out to Springfield, Illinois, where he becomes part of the group of ambitious young men, which includes Lincoln, in this frontier town on the make. And it is through Cage that we come to know his friend Lincoln in his twenties and early thirties, the Lincoln who is already a circuit-riding lawyer and a member of the state legislature, filled with an almost ungovernable ambition. But to Cage and to others with big dreams in this group--which includes Joshua Speed, Billy Herndon, Ninian Edwards, Stephen Douglas, Jim Reed--he is also a beloved, hypnotic figure, physically powerful, by turns charmingly awkward and mesmerizingly self-possesed, and a supremely gifted story teller, a man of whom they expect big things. Cage, a poet, both admires and clashes with Lincoln, as Lincoln's legal ethics allow him to take a murderer's case, or clients on both sides of the slavery issue. And Cage, himself engaged in a long affair with an independent young widow, charts Lincoln's never easy path, from his high spirits and earthy jokes to his soul-hollowing sadness and bouts with the hypo (depression), from his disastrous courtship of another Mary to finally marriage with beautiful, capricious, politically savvy, Mary Todd, who at the close of the novel in 1847 has presented him one son and some stability, although it leads to conflict with Cage, and sends the two men on very different paths into the future"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780307700674
Branch Call Number: F HARRI-S
Characteristics: 415 pages ; 25 cm


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Jul 07, 2016

I loved this book. It is a look into Lincoln’s life while he was still a lawyer in Illinois, and courted Mary Todd. He accomplishes what good historical fiction does better than non-fiction. He makes people come alive. His marriage to Todd seems based more on keeping his word than love and he regretted this union from before the marriage. Bright, comedic and yet prone to depression, Lincoln is shown to have many different facets to his personality.

Mar 07, 2016

While the friendship in this book is imaginary, the author well captures the spirit of Abraham Lincoln in his formative days as a lawyer and Illinois state politician. Of note are the beginnings of his rivalry with Stephen Douglas, who he famously faced off against in the 1858 Senate election.


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