[PDF] ✈ Lincoln Author Gore Vidal – Saudionline.co.uk

Lincoln chapter 1 Lincoln, meaning Lincoln, genre Lincoln, book cover Lincoln, flies Lincoln, Lincoln afebface6cf80 Gore Vidal S Narratives Of Empire Series Spans The History Of The United States From The Revolution To The Post World War II Years With Their Broad Canvas And Large Cast Of Fictional And Historical Characters, The Novels In This Series Present A Panorama Of The American Political And Imperial Experience As Interpreted By One Of Its Most Worldly, Knowing, And Ironic ObserversTo Most Americans, Abraham Lincoln Is A Monolithic Figure, The Great Emancipator And Savior Of The Union, Beloved By All In Gore Vidal S Lincoln We Meet Lincoln The Man And Lincoln The Political Animal, The President Who Entered A Besieged Capital Where Most Of The Population Supported The South And Where Even Those Favoring The Union Had Serious Doubts That The Man From Illinois Could Save It Far From Steadfast In His Abhorrence Of Slavery, Lincoln Agonizes Over The Best Course Of Action And Comes To His Great Decision Only When All Else Seems To Fail As The Civil War Ravages His Nation, Lincoln Must Face Deep Personal Turmoil, The Loss Of His Dearest Son, And The Harangues Of A Wife Seen As A Traitor For Her Southern Connections Brilliantly Conceived, Masterfully Executed, Gore Vidal S Lincoln Allows The Man To Breathe Again

10 thoughts on “Lincoln

  1. says:

    The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction Formally abolishing slavery in the United States, the 13th Amendment was passed by the Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.In the immortal words of Joe Biden this was a big f king deal If you have not seen the movie Lincoln please go see it I cannot remember the last time that I have enjoyed a movie so thoroughly Daniel Day Lewis is spectacular For two and a half hours he was LINCOLN, so than the original The supporting cast is absolutely superb David Strathairn plays William Seward and Sally Fields plays Mary Todd James Spader shows up as one of the men who has the job to strong arm lame duck senators into voting for the 13th Amendment He was hilarious The movie made me laugh and moved me to tears of joy and pain Even though I knew, obviously, that the 13th Amendment had passed I was on the edge of my seat with stomach clenched and my heart in my throat watching the vote If it had been a sporting event and not a movie theater I would have rung the rafters with my shouts of exultation when the final votes are tallied Rachel Maddow said recently something that still resonates with me But here is the thing about rights they re not actually supposed to be voted on That s why they are called rights Amazing that we are still discussing rights in this country Every time we bring up an initiative in this country regarding the rights of some of our citizens I just have to shake my head It is or at least it should be self evident I m rarely going to say this, but watching the movie first actually enhanced my reading experience The movie is based on the Doris Kearns Goodwin book Team of Rivals The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, but I found whole dialogue scenes lifted from Gore Vidal s book Let s just say that Steven Spielberg probably read this book before filming the movie William Seward who gave wise counsel to his rival during the war.Abraham Lincoln to maintain peace in his own party and to keep an eye on his enemies appointed his rivals to the cabinet The two most ambitious were William Seward who served as Secretary of State and Salmon P Chase who served as Secretary of the Treasury Their plotting and scheming were sometimes a source of amusement to Lincoln, when discovered resignations were offered, but Lincoln refused to accept When greenback money was introduced Chase s ambitions got the better of him You know , said Lincoln, I asked Mr Chase why he had put himself instead of me on the one dollar bill, clearly the most in use of the two denominations, and he said, As you are the President, you must be on the most expensive bill and I on the less Salmon P Chase providing the image for the 1 greenback.There is something FISHY about Chase Salmon P Chase, Secretary of the Treasury.Lincoln was much politically savvy than his rivals expected He outwitted them at every turn and planted devious traps for them He did the same to his Democratic challengers He used his knowledge of the law to bend the law and in one of the controversial moments of his term in office he suspended habeas corpus and threw thousands of agitators in jail His homespun mannerisms and his penchant for storytelling certainly hid his steely determination I had always thought of Lincoln as a reluctant politician, but that was part of his brilliance concealing the ambition that made him a man who burned with desire to be reelected Seward s respect for Lincoln continued to grow as the war continued Chase never seemed to learn that he was over matched by Lincoln, although I did have a soft spot for Chase s hobby of collecting signatures Every time he would find a new one he was as excited as I am when I find a book I thought I d never find Vidal planted me squarely at the table during cabinet meetings I came away from these meetings with the smell of cigar smoke in my hair and the pungent taste of bourbon on my tongue As much as I want to have sympathy for Mary Todd Lincoln I found it and difficult as Vidal revealed of her character She was a shopaholic before they knew what to call it As it became harder for her to get money out of congress and her husband, she started exchanging political favors for money She was easily slighted and exacted vicious revenge Lincoln s clerks who had to deal with her money concerns and her frequent embarrassing outbursts referred to her as the Hellcat She did suffer from debilitating migraines usually brought on by stress She would throw childish fits ratcheting Lincoln s own stress levels higher when the union most needed him concerned about the national interest Both of them suffered from frequent bouts of melancholy and rarely seemed able to help each other to be happy Lincoln had problems with his generals He even fired some of them than once His first choice for command of the Union army was Robert E Lee, probably the first man in history who was offered the command of two armies fighting against each other When Lee chose his state over his country Lincoln went with Irwin McDowell who proved very ineffective Then George McClellan referred to as The Great American Tortoise because of his inability to engage the enemy A problem that would plague a series of union generals The one positive contribution McClellan made to the war effort was he proved to be an excellent trainer He turned a ragtag army into a drilled and efficient machine He was fired, rehired and fired again General George B McClellan, a disappointing fighter, but a dangerous Democratic opponent.John Pope firedAmbrose Burnside fired General Joe Hooker the man who lent his name to prostitution.Lincoln had great hope for Fighting Joe Hooker and for a while it looked like he finally had a general that wanted to fight Hooker was knocked unconscious when a Confederate shell hit a pillar of the porch on which he was standing, and the pillar had fallen on him, and he had been unconscious for hours Once recovered, he had given up drink and without drink there was, everyone said, no longer a Fighting Joe Hooker but simply another incompetent Union general named Hooker. He had another issue that may have sapped some of his fighting strength His headquarters looked like a brothel casino In fact, so addicted was Hooker and his immediate staff to the flesh that Washington s army of prostitutes was now known as Hooker s girls or, for short HOOKERS. George Meade firedThe victories, like a breath of fresh air were coming from the generals out west, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan Finally Lincoln appoints Ulysses S Grant to command the Union army and the rest is history It was a bad bet for the South to make, with 2 3rds of the population in the North it didn t take much slide rule work to figure out that a prolonged war would simply result in the South running out of men to fight with Some say the South might have won if they had fought a defensive war, just holding a line and letting the Yankees come to them I have been a proponent of that theory as well in the past especially since the Union generals showed such a reluctance to fight their fellow countrymen The blockade would have continued to squeeze down supply lines and with most of the manufacturing in the North, the sanctions would have continued to erode the ability of the South to fight effectively Despite having the best generals, and they were truly providing inspirational leadership, and with a population that was determined to hang on to a way of life that was unsustainable it is still really hard to concoct a scenario that would have resulted in the South winning the war The Ancient, as his clerks referred to him, was intent on bringing the Union back together Of course, Pennsylvania is our soil But so is Virginia So are the Carolinas So is Texas They are forever our soil That is what this war is about and these damned fools cannot grasp it or will not grasp it The whole country is our soil I cannot fathom such men And here we are living in a Union that Lincoln through guile and ruthlessness managed to hold together Unfortunately the South did not get to benefit from the benevolence that Lincoln had planned for them during reconstruction Highly recommended to read in conjunction with a wonderful movie I have also reviewed another Gore Vidal book from the Empire series Washington D C review If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

  2. says:

    As I write my review I am within the last hundred pages and last few months of Abraham Lincoln s life In other words, Good Friday 1865 is on the horizon and both President and Mrs Lincoln are set to go and see Our American Cousin at that now fated Washingtonian landmark Ford s Theater I have been immersing myself in all things Lincoln Civil War in the last few months as a result of the new Spielberg film and my already having seen it twice For as much as I cannot stop raving about the film itself I do actually have a few issues with it, albeit this is not the forum to bring those issues to fruition Suffice to say, I have the Lincoln Bug and I feel that it is here to stay at least for a while.I am a student of American and Presidential History and for all I do know, I somewhat feel that I either a don t know ANYTHING regarding President Lincoln or b feel that I know TOO much regarding President Lincoln In my case, I simply cannot find that happy medium It s been said countless times in I don t know how many articles I ve read or however many interviews I ve seen that American Presidents always feel somewhat that they ll never live up to Lincoln or that they must get right with the legend of Abraham Lincoln in order to perform and or carry out the duties of the office that they ve sworn to uphold.So now we know just where I m at in this vast wilderness of historical information I simply do not know just where I should start on this journey that I m dying to embark on So, I did what I thought was the best thing, kill two birds with one stone I haven t read a historical novel yet this year and I have this new rediscovered fondness for President Lincoln I decided that it was finally time for me to take a deep breath and at last dive into Vidal s magnum opus for good I have tried ever since high school to read this and always seem to get to right after the first inaugural where my concentration and stamina wear out I ve always put this book down and sworn to myself that someday I ll really read this one Well Christmas week of December 2012 just happened to be that someday I must give Vidal credit where it is due as to the vast and immense research that he obviously poured into every character and almost every scene The one thing I ve always hated about this novel is that Vidal never separates his scenes and as a result the reader finds themselves wondering just how they got from the East Room of the White House for example to the barroom halfway across the city A few times I needed to back up and actually reread pages just to figure out how the transition happened.For those Civil War buffs out there, all the usual suspects George McClellan, William Seward, John Wilkes Booth make at least a page worth of an appearance within this American epic The first 130 or so pages go just from February, 1861 when Lincoln himself sneaks into Washington under cover of night to the conclusion of the First Battle of Manassas Bull Run in July, 1861 The second part of the story takes us from December, 1861 to the end of 1863 and the Gettysburg campaign and address, respectively As I still have yet to complete the third and final part, I can tell you we are going through the 1864 Election and up to Appomattox With all that I ve mentioned here I have to admit that this is damn fine piece of literature The few faults that I ve brought up shouldn t mar the creation of what for me is quite possibly the BEST historical novel that I ve yet read Pick this one up and lose yourself if only for a short time within the politics and times of the early 1860 s and the man that single handedly reinvented the office and tenor of the American Presidency for generations to come.ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN 1984.

  3. says:

    Arguably the best historical fiction book every written beating out even notables like Shaara s Killer Angels Hell this is probably one of the top 5 books on the Civil War period Along with Shelby Foote s epic three volume opus, McPherson s Battle Cry of Freedom, and the aforementioned Killer Angels If you have the slightest interest in history, the Civil War, Lincoln or even just a beautifully constructed story of politics in a time of war read it Meticulously researched and exquisitely put together this book is epic

  4. says:

    This is another entry in the Superb category of true historical fiction I cannot heap enough praise on Vidal for his ability to present history in a readable format He understood the characters, mated them with the facts and made them flesh and bone Still, this is fiction and he says he did take some liberties.All of the principal characters really existed, and they said and did pretty much what I have them saying and doing, with the exception of the Surratts and David Herold who really lived and worked at Thompson s, which was actually closer to New York Avenue than to Pennsylvania Avenue As David s life is largely unknown until Booth s conspiracy, I have invented a low life for him The novel begins a few days before Lincoln s first inauguration and ends with the assassination There is no barefoot childhood in a log cabin educating himself, for example There are references by others that his humble life in Illinois may have been exaggerated for political reasons For example, no photograph of his Illinois mansion was allowed during the campaign We revere Lincoln, but I ll admit much was unknown to me Lincoln was a consummate politician why should he not have been Via understatement and humor he was able to manipulate his political opponents The secession of a half dozen states came even before he took the oath of office Those states were then in possession of much federal property, including federal personnel at Fort Sumter And so, war was waged Lincoln had but one reason for this war and that reason was not the abolition of slavery And the Union be so restored that no one will ever be able to see the slightest scar from all this great trouble, that will pass now the way a dream does when you wake at last, from a long night s sleep A full 5 stars if I could make them flashing gold stars, I would do it I look forward to in this series.

  5. says:

    I really like how Vidal writes I read half of this novel before I watched the Lincoln movie not the vampire hunter one D and I was really impressed by the amount of research that went into this book As someone who knows very little American history, I definitely gained a lot knowledge after reading this book.It was a long read but worth it.

  6. says:

    Wildly entertaining, Gore really brings to life Washington DC in 1860, when our nation truly was on the threshold of near certain dissolution Lincoln, the surprise victor of the presidential race faced a mostly confederate leaning city the capitol dome was being constructed and everyone expected the raw boned Midwesterner to fail But he was wily and had an animal s instinct with people, keeping his veneer carefully sculpted and his ultimate strategies hidden The period covered is 1860 1865, and told from Lincoln and his cabinet s point of view in parallel with street level confederate secesh conspirators who ultimately collided with the assassination of our greatest president by most polls, including mine It is obvious that Gore read all he could get his hands on in fact, in my youth I had often cast my eyes over the last days of Lincoln and the hanging of his assassins and conspirators so was familiar with the plot to kill him and his secretary of state.Gore has a sense of humor that appeals to me, and I found the descriptions of the deceptive generals who wouldn t fight and their put on pomposity hilarious The jaundiced Seward, a most politically astute secretary of state and the ambitious and proudly upright Salmon Chase secretary of the treasury, then supreme court head are nicely contrasted as part of Lincoln s team of rivals The internal politics was absolutely caustic, as the Ancient or the tycoon as his secretary s dubbed him , stood between the virulently hardline republican abolitionists and the moderate democrats Lincoln wanted our nation to be ONE, not two colonies or countries, and this was his underlying ethos As a lawyer he freed the slaves as a military necessity, as ownership was still constitutional, a political act among others that strained the legality of executive powers He knew these boundaries and, cleverly, split the parties to maintain his power base and to get elected almost regrettably, he wanted it to complete what in his heart he knew our nation required vs the naked ambition that characterized him as a much younger man He grew gaunt and gray in his first term, maintaining his backwoods musculature beneath somewhat disheveled clothing and haircut Lincoln persevered with humor, and stories, almost as a solitary leader, with his odd jealous and petty wife mother spending like a drunken sailor on herself, and often on the edge of sanity His favorite son died early in office, and he knew the price of the war he was waging He bore the awful brunt of his decisions His secretary, John Hay, tells much of the story and finishes this book beautifully p 656 Mr Lincoln had a far greater and difficult task than Washington s You see, the Southern states had every Constitutional right to go out of the Union But Lincoln said, no Lincoln said, this Union can never be broken Now that was a terrible responsibility for one man to take But he took it, knowing he would be obliged to fight the greatest war in human history, which he did, and which he won So he not only put the Union back together again, but he made an entirely new country, and all of it in his own image p 657 Lincoln, in some mysterious fashion, had willed his own murder as a form of atonement for the great an terrible thing that he had done by giving so bloody and absolute a rebirth to his nation.

  7. says:

    Gore Vidal was a huge discovery for me Until I d read this book, I knew only that he was related to Jackie Kennedy Onassis and and Lee Radziwill and that he was a guest on many talk shows of the 70s 80s where other well known guests frequently found his opinions profoundly upsetting But there was a lot of that going on at the time I have always admired Abraham Lincoln as our most important president except for brief periods when I was enad of Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman and John Adams, in that order , so I literally checked out Lincoln by Gore Vidal Apparently, the author read every scrap of information that he could find on his subject and then knitted together every true thing he found with what he could only surmise had taken place in between the facts by way of conversations which cannot be confirmed as having taken place The book is as entertaining and enlightening a story as I have ever had the good fortune to read I came away with a living portrait of Lincoln, the man, and was astonished to learn of the miriad of seemingly insurmountable circumstances attendant to the ones we commonly know of his life and times Lincoln s health was not the best and the remedy for his stomach problems a disgusting, viscous concotion called Blue Mass had to be endured often His wife, though she loved him very much, was not an asset to him with her own frail mental and emotional states and some plain selfishness in the bargain She embarrassed him publicly and politcially They lost children together I hate McClellan today because I read that he organized the Army of the Potomac, but he was a tragedy as a general, to put it mildly, and got a staggering amount of Union soldiers needlessly saughtered Well, I loved the book Will read it again.

  8. says:

    Gore Vidal s enjoyable and masterly fictional biography of Abraham Lincoln is, according to the author, largely based on fact.Until I read Lincoln I had a naive belief that he was a modern saint That he was not He is portrayed as being a brilliant politician persistent, both ruthless as well as humane, and pragmatic.We are introduced to him as the USA was in the process of becoming disunited and was plunging into a deadly civil war Not only was his country disunited, but also was his Republican party, many of whose senior members had little faith in his ability to win the Civil War Yet, he pulled it off Despite mammoth losses of life on the battlefields, incompetent military commanders, and numerous attempts to sabotage his work, Lincoln managed to defeat the Confederates and to prevent the unity of the young USA from becoming permanently disrupted.I was surprised to learn that Honest Abe was not always in favour of liberating the Black slaves and ending slavery in the USA It was almost, it seemed to me, for pragmatic reasons that he was gradually won over to these things The integrity of the USA was in the forefront of his mind If allowing slavery in states that would have otherwise become disloyal to the union permitted him to keep them as allies, he allowed that even though many of his closest colleagues were in favour of abolishing slavery.The novel contains a plethora of interesting and well portrayed characters, all of whom contribute to the suspense that is maintained throughout its than 600 pages of tiny font.

  9. says:

    Whatever hubris it takes to write a biography of Abraham Lincoln, it surely takes plenty to write a research intensive 657 page novel that covers the entire presidency Vidal accomplishes this compression by including a pile of exposition in dialogue without it ever quite seeming like he s doing so perhaps famous national leaders are the only characters in fiction exempt from the rule Portraits of minor characters John Hay one of Lincoln s personal secretaries and Kate Chase daughter of Treasury secretary Salmon Chase in particular are vivid and convincing, but I loved the book most for its glimpse of Washington, D.C during the Civil War the mud, the noise, the smell, the vulnerability to attack, the coziness, the charm, etc Takes small liberties with the historical timeline and invents a few crucial Confederate spies sympathizers, all to the good Final note the book sparked a HUGE spitting match between Vidal and several eminent Lincoln scholars though not all of them in the New York Review of Books I take both sides, really, although I lean to Vidal the cover of the book says a novel, after all, a form equally available to all, or at least to all of the participants in the spitting match.

  10. says:

    This was rollicking good read, and may even contain some historical truths about Abraham Lincoln and his fellow politicos duing the turbulent era of the Civil War Vidal draws a vivid picture of 19th century Washington a city built on a swamp, with rudimentary facilities, but with grand aspirations Lincoln is presented as a man of brilliant lawyerly talents, a pragmatic strategist rather than an idealistic opponent of slavery Throughout the book, Vidal makes clear that Lincoln alternately referred to as the Tycoon or the Ancient was not an abolitionist in any respect, but was opposed to states leaving the union above all as un constitutional , which led him to his famous proclamation freeing the slaves in the South, that is , as a military necessity His wife is portrayed as a slightly mad shopaholic, massively in debt, and prone to corrupt practices to raise money to do up the ramshackle White House the Mansion , while his closest advisors are all scheming behind his back the abolitionist Treasury Secretary Chase wishes to be President instead of Abe, and the Secretary of State Seward is keen on starting a war with Canada or Mexico, to replace the lost secesh states Washington is full of spies, brothels and disease and the work presents the United States as a young country not hugely unlike Ancient Rome, corrupt yet idealistic, and destined to expand militarily the Civil War had built the largest military force on earth, and, possibly, hints Vidal, paved the road to eventual Empire.

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