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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Adam Braver's 13 short stories add up to a vivid glimpse into the life of Abraham Lincoln and the inhabitants of his divided America. Braver captures history so completely, and readers come to know Lincoln not just as a great statesman, but as a grieving father, a clumsy husband, a weary leader, and a man with a predilection for using morphine to dull the pain.
America mired in the horrors of a ruthless civil war, Braver's characters have something to say about the 16th U.S. president. A demented, grief-stricken father makes his way to Central Park to hear Lincoln speak and to absolve him of guilt for the death of his son. An undertaker describes the peaceful look on the face of Lincoln's young son the night he died, providing Lincoln with a bit of solace. John Wilkes Booth plans to upstage his father -- once and for all -- with his most dramatic performance ever; and Mary Todd Lincoln tearfully begs for a lock of her dead husband's hair moments before Lincoln's autopsy.
Mr. Lincoln's wars weren't just "civil" but emotional, unbearable, and universal. And in Braver's capable hands, it's easy to forget you're reading about a former president. Reaching back in time to the establishment of the modern nation under Lincoln's leadership -- in all its gritty complexity -- Braver imagines, with astonishing clarity, what must have been felt by this great leader and by millions of Americans long ago. (Winter 2002 Selection)