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Lincoln -- A Novel

Vidal, Gore

7,102 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0394528956 / ISBN 13: 9780394528953
Published by Random House, New York, 1984
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

Certainly one of the late Gore Vidal's greatest books, described on the DJ as a "brilliantly realized, vividly imagined work of fiction in which most of the events and much of the dialogue are actual." From Wikipedia: "The novel's emphasis is on the president's political and personal struggles, and not the battles of the Civil War. Though Lincoln is the focus, the book is never narrated from his point of view (with the exception of several paragraphs describing a dream Lincoln had shortly before his death). Vidal's portrait is drawn from contemporary diaries, memoirs, letters, newspaper accounts, and the biographical writings of Hay and John Nicolay, Lincoln's secretaries; and is buttressed by the work of both 19th- and 20th-century historians." This copy is in Fine/Fine condition, binding clean and tight, brown cloth boards unfaded and unbumped, gilt lettering bright and legible. DJ is unchipped, unclipped and unmarked; two short closed tears are at the top of the dj, not visible under the brodart protective cover. Price of $19.95 at top of front flyleaf, and Gore Vidal has signed on.the full title page above his printed name. First edition, first printing, with number line starting with "2," the RH custom for first printings in those days. Now scarce, if signed and in this condition. Bookseller Inventory # 151010

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Lincoln -- A Novel

Publisher: Random House, New York

Publication Date: 1984

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

About this title

Synopsis:

Lincoln is the cornerstone of Gore Vidal's fictional American chronicle, which includes Burr, 1876, Washington, D.C., Empire, and Hollywood. It opens early on a frozen winter morning in 1861, when President-elect Abraham Lincoln slips into Washington, flanked by two bodyguards. The future president is in disguise, for there is talk of a plot to murder him. During the next four years there will be numerous plots to murder this man who has sworn to unite a disintegrating nation. Isolated in a ramshackle White House in the center of a proslavery city, Lincoln presides over a fragmenting government as Lee's armies beat at the gates. In this profoundly moving novel, a work of epic proportions and intense human sympathy, Lincoln is observed by his loved ones and his rivals. The cast of characters is almost Dickensian: politicians, generals, White House aides, newspapermen, Northern and Southern conspirators, amiably evil bankers, and a wife slowly going mad. Vidal's portrait of the president is at once intimate
and monumental, stark and complex, drawn with the wit, grace, and authority of one of the great historical novelists.
   With a new Introduction by the author.

Review:

Lincoln is a masterwork of historical fiction, in which Gore Vidal combines a comprehensive knowledge of Civil War America with 20th-century literary technique, probing the minds and motives of the men surrounding Abraham Lincoln, including personal secretary John Hay and scheming cabinet members William Seward and Salmon P. Chase, as well as his wife, Mary Todd. It is a book monumental in scope that never loses sight of the intimate and personal in its depiction of the power struggles that accompanied Lincoln's efforts to preserve the Union at all costs--efforts in which the eradication of slavery was far from the president's main objective. As usual, there's plenty of room for Vidal's wickedly humorous deflation of American icons, including a comic interlude in a Washington bordello in which Lincoln's former law partner informs Hay that Lincoln had contracted syphilis as a young man and had, just before marrying Mary Todd, suffered what can only be described as a nervous breakdown. (Protestors should note that Vidal is only passing along what that former partner had written in his own biography of Lincoln.) Don't be intimidated by the size of Lincoln; if you like historical fiction, you should read this book at the first opportunity. --Ron Hogan

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