Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans. Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer has hosted more than 200 episodes of the radio series Quiet Fire: The Spiritual Life of Abraham Lincoln. Now, 30 of his best stories provide a month of inspirational reading in a unique volume that invites us to read the stories—or to follow a simple code to hear the original broadcast each day.
“Since its beginning, radio has offered a warm medium for connecting the heart, the head, and the imagination. This delightful collection of Lincoln's wisdom was seeded in a creative radio show, Quiet Fire,” writes Sally Kane, CEO of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, where this series was born on WERU, a station in mid-coastal Maine. “Now, Quiet Fire has morphed into a daily companion for readers who connect the dots between time and space to map a new understanding of the chaotic times in which we live. Lincoln's words resonate more urgently than ever, and Duncan has played alchemist in Quiet Fire to one of our country's greatest souls and distilled an essence that can guide and comfort us.”
“Duncan Newcomer captures Lincoln’s spirit in every one of these thirty meditations, and I love the fact that these began life on radio since I am a radio guy as well,” Day1 radio host Peter Wallace writes in the book’s Foreword. “By reading these sublime and soulful reflections, possessed—as Duncan puts it—by a quiet fire, you will find inspiration and insight that will make sense in your own life, in your own battles with fear and grief, in your own decisions over the best path to take in a certain situation, in your own yearning for deep meaning and purpose.”
In the book, Newcomer reminds readers of Lincoln’s belief that it is “not the land that makes us American. It’s a mindset. Americans are not a race or a tribe. To Lincoln, Americans are a people who have received a great gift: a free nation with self-government.” And, Thirty Days With Abraham Lincoln—Quiet Fire reminds us, writes Newcomer, that “Americans did not create this free nation on their own; in Lincoln’s mind, a divine assistance made it possible.”
In these short, daily stories, Newcomer touches repeatedly to the role of the divine in Lincoln’s thoughts, writings and deeds. In one story, Lincoln senses “an abiding presence everywhere for good.” In another, “God acting in history.”
“It may just be,” writes Newcomer, “that more than two centuries after the birth of Lincoln, new generations of people are ready to follow Lincoln once again—in order to find a new birth of freedom. This spirit can make the young wide awake and relight the fire inside the old.”
Sheryl Fullerton, retired Executive Editor for Religion & Spirituality at John Wiley & Sons, Inc, writes, “Duncan Newcomer gives us the gift of Abraham Lincoln’s wise words and Duncan’s own thoughtful reflections on a side of the great president most of us have not really seen. Read this book every day for a month, and you will not only be heartened and enlightened but also given hope for our own troubled times.”
Thirty Days With Lincoln, collects Newcomer’s best stories from the radio series Quiet Fire, presenting them both in text and with a daily link that will play that original broadcast with the click of a smartphone app.
About the Author
Peter M. Wallace is the producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio program and podcast, "Day1" (Day1.org), an Episcopal priest, and author/editor of 12 books including The Passionate Jesus and Heart and Soul: The Emotions of Jesus.
John Burt is Paul E. Prosswimmer Professor of American Literature at Brandeis University. He is the author of Lincoln's Tragic Pragmatism (2013).