Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lincoln: A Novel

1984, 1985 Ballantine edition
Gore Vidal
Lincoln: A Novel
Original and purchase price both $4.95
Poor condition paperback

In this novel, mostly set during Lincoln's presidency, Charles Schuyler and his daughter Emma appear only in the short final chapter, basically an epilogue, set in 1867.  Perhaps not coincidentally, this is the least cynical of Vidal's historical novels so far.  Not that Vidal puts Lincoln on a pedestal.  He shows "Old Abe" as human, from constipation to racism.  But he also presents him as heroic despite the flaws, the only person who could've reunited the States at that time.  Oddly enough, we get many perspectives, including wife Mary, but never the man himself.  As such, I never felt drawn in enough.  The novel is better than Washington, D.C. but not as good as Burr or 1876.  Also, while there aren't a large number of typos considering the book is over 600 pages, it seems like all of the typos there are jump at me, like "Gid" for "God," "soliders," and "nine eye" instead of "mine eye."

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