By Stephen Harrigan
The writer of the best-selling The Gates of the Alamo now supplies us a galvanizing portrait of Abraham Lincoln in the course of a crucially revealing interval of his existence, the early Springfield years, while he risked either his sanity and his moral bearings as he sought for the good future he believed to be his.
It is Illinois within the 1830s and 1840s. Abraham Lincoln is a circuit-riding legal professional, a member of the nation legislature, a guy of virtually ungovernable ambition. To his pals he's additionally a loved determine, through turns charmingly awkward and mesmerizingly self-possessed—a guy of whom they, too, anticipate colossal issues. between his pals and political colleagues are Joshua velocity, William Herndon, Stephen Douglas, and so on who've come to the exploding frontier city of Springfield to discover their futures.
It is thru one other pal, a fictional poet, Cage Weatherby, that we are going to come to understand Lincoln in his twenties and thirties, as a chain of formative, extraordinary incidents unfolds—his provider within the Black Hawk warfare, his participation in a poetry-writing society, a problem to a duel that starts as a farce yet fast rises to deadly strength . . . Cage either admires and clashes with Lincoln, occasionally wondering his felony ethics and his wary stance on slavery. yet he's through Lincoln’s part as Lincoln slips from side to side among excessive spirits and soul-hollowing unhappiness and melancholy, and as he recovers from a disastrous courtship of 1 girl to marry the attractive, capricious, politically savvy Mary Todd. it truly is Mary who will deliver balance to Lincoln’s lifestyles, yet who also will set off a clash that sends the 2 males on very diversified paths into the future.
Historically exact, wealthy in personality, packed with the juice and goals and uncooked goals of american citizens at the make in an early frontier urban, a pal of Mr. Lincoln is a revelatory and relocating portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in his younger manhood. it's a close-up, concerning adventure, this kind of shiny glimpse underneath the veneer of historical past that simply some of the best fiction supplies.
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Extra resources for A Friend of Mr. Lincoln
I relaxed, sure that I was intimidating her rather than the other way around. A pause followed as we both tried to figure out something to say. ” I could feel someone step around me, and then, there he was: thin, taller, blond, milky blue eyes scanning Lily and me. ” he asked. I could tell two things by his insignia: he, too, was in bomb disposal, but more important, he outranked me. Once he discovered the same, he smiled. I shook my head, but turned to Lily: Had I been out of line, somehow? “No,” Lily said.
As it happens, I have found myself chasing after Ronnie a dozen times, more frequently of late. I’ll hear him run howling past my window late some night and leave my warm bed to run him down. Sometimes I catch him, sometimes I don’t find him until much later, when he’s passed out, in the shelter of some truck or house or Dumpster, often on a night that’s cold enough to kill. Whenever he comes to, in a few hours or a few days, he rarely mentions just what drove him into the night. But sometimes the memory is fresh or frightening enough that he can’t help but speak of it, and out it comes, a similar story every time: an eagle, a caribou, a bear, encounters him, alone, walking down some street in town.
Something was wrong. With my free hand, I went for his shoulder; I kept clutching his dead hand with mine. He’d become his own, life-sized voodoo doll. I called out his name, louder and louder, and then I called for the nurse, and then I called for God, and then I called for goddamned Steven Gottschalk. BEFORE THIS MORNING, I could not have told you what Ronnie’s hand felt like—I could have imagined it, perhaps, but that would have been a feat of imagination, imagination driven by what visual details my mind retains.
A Friend of Mr. Lincoln by Stephen Harrigan