The Case of Abraham Lincoln: A Story of Adultery, Murder, and the Making of a Great President

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Overview

In 1856, Abraham Lincoln was at a personal crossroads. Often despondent, he had grown bored with his work as a lawyer. He was beginning to see himself as just a former Congressman, without much of a future in politics. Later that year, the gruesome murder of a Springfield blacksmith provided the case that defined Lincoln's legal career. The string of lurid revelations that followed the crime became front page news across the country, putting Lincoln back in the national spotlight. The Anderson case reflected the ...

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The Case of Abraham Lincoln: A Story of Adultery, Murder, and the Making of a Great President

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Overview

In 1856, Abraham Lincoln was at a personal crossroads. Often despondent, he had grown bored with his work as a lawyer. He was beginning to see himself as just a former Congressman, without much of a future in politics. Later that year, the gruesome murder of a Springfield blacksmith provided the case that defined Lincoln's legal career. The string of lurid revelations that followed the crime became front page news across the country, putting Lincoln back in the national spotlight. The Anderson case reflected the spirit of the times: an inescapable, dark world, hidden within the optimism and innocence of the young city of Springfield. With the Anderson murder, Lincoln's legal skills as a defender were challenged as never before and he was finally able to prove himself as a man with a great destiny.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The microview Fenster offers of both Lincoln's life and the daily experience in mid-19th century Springfield is fascinating...Fenster does an excellent job of allowing us to watch [Lincoln] grow, almost as if by time-lapse photography...a gem indeed." — Marjorie Kehe, Christian Science Monitor

"Through the lens of a sensational 1856 Springfield, Ill., murder case, a historian focuses on Abraham Lincoln the lawyer and politician, four years before his election to the presidency… An unexpected, odd-angle approach to Lincoln that proves marvelously insightful." — Kirkus (Starred review)

"In [The Case of Abraham Lincoln] we learn how Abraham Lincoln averted one looming if by comparison rather small injustice, and also how he began the business of ending a much vaster and more terrible one." — Fredeic Smoler, AmericanHeritage.com

"[The Case of Abraham Lincoln is a beautifully nuanced portrait of Lincoln in the turning-point year of 1856 when the former Whig joined the new Republican party, gave what many considered to be his greatest speech and suddenly found himself a national figure." — Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune

"what The Case of Abraham Lincoln: A Story of Adultery, Murder and the Making of a Great President achieves is something few college history courses — and certainly accompanying textbooks — are able to: great storytelling." — Chicago Sun-Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230608092
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 12/23/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 821,615
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.16 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Fenster

Julie M. Fenster is the co-author (with Douglas Brinkley) of The New York Times bestseller Parish Priest. Her books include the award-winning Ether Day and Race of the Century. A regular contributor to American Heritage, Fenster has also written for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Syracuse, New York.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Maps of Illinois and Springfield

Foreword - Lincoln in His Element

by Dr. Douglas Brinkley

Chapter 1 - March, 1856

Like a Cathedral

Chapter 2 - April

At the Anvil

Chapter 3 - The Beginning of May

Stranger in the Yard

Chapter 4 - Early May

Something About Strychnine

Chapter 5 - May 15

The Old Man Went Out

Chapter 6 - Mid-May

Excitement in the City

Chapter 7 - Late May

An Old Battered Stovepipe Hat

Chapter 8 - May 29

Major's Hall

Chapter 9 - June

Summer Days

Chapter 10 - July and August

The March of the What-y'a-call-ems

Chapter 11 - September

Boarding Men

Chapter 12 - October and November

A Motive Equal to Murder

Chapter 13 - November and Early December, 1856

The Best Hope of the Nation

Afterword

Endnotes

Selected Bibliography

Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    I agree with th first peraon that it it weak on focus.

    Still though if you are looking for things related to Abraham Lincoln this is a book for you. If you are looking for a book about Lincoln himself I suggest 101 facts about Lincoln.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Good Detail, Weak on Focus

    The best part of this book is the rich detail about Abraham Lincoln's political life around 1856 and the life and times he experienced then. The negative part is that the title and subtitle hardly match what is inside. In fact, it is difficult to find a central theme to the book within its pages, except that it is about Lincoln in about 1856. The author tells us it is about THE Case of Lincoln? THE Case? Then, the subtitle tells us it is about adultery and murder, as if to somehow suggest, by ommission, that Lincoln is involved in both. The adultery and murder in this case is not about Lincoln, but about a family that lived in Springfield when he did. The author weaves this story in and out of seemingly unrelated information about Lincoln, except it was what he was doing at the same time. The only real link between Lincoln and this case is that he was acquaintance or relative to people involved in the legal aspects of it. It is almost like the author is searching for something new and different about Lincoln to sell and happened on this murder case and tried, in vain, to link Lincoln in some kind of meaningful way. It failed. It was also billed as the case that brought Lincoln to the public's attention. Hardly. The writing and research are good, but the book is misbilled and, after reading a dozen books about Lincoln by more known Lincoln scholars, I would say read the other first.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    If you like reading about President Lincoln, you will enjoy this book.

    I enjoy reading about Lincoln. The author did her homework and gave a different perspective of the man. I would recommend this book to all. It is sensative, enlighting and deals more with the man than with his relations to his family, etc.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2008

    Using Lincoln to Sell a Book

    Having just finished this book, I am filled with disappointment. While it purports to be a steamy tale of intrigue and murder closely involved with the life of Lincoln, the book is instead 90% boring political diatribe and 10% inadequately-reported murder mystery. The author switches subjects and locations from one paragraph to another in a dizzying display of poor writing. As for the case itself, Lincoln was only tangentially involved in the trial, and it is not until the last 40 pages or so that we get any good reading. The book is also filled with typographical errors which spellcheck could have fixed if anyone had cared enough to employ it. All in all a pathetic book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2008

    Fascinating

    The Case of Abraham Lincoln is a fascinating glimpse into the political world and the criminal justice system of 1850s Illinois. In 1856 George Anderson is found murdered in his own back yard the prime suspects are Anderson's wife and nephew at the same time Abraham Lincoln is at the center of the forming of the Republican party and the rebirth of his political career. Julie M. Fenster sheds light on the two careers of Lincoln: lawyer and politican and the difficulties that Lincoln faced being both on the same time. Great details on how trails were conducted in the mid-nineteenth century and how political campigns were run.

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