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Jill Meyer (United States)

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The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway)
The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway)
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Series book..., 28 Mar. 2015
British author Elly Griffiths' new novel in her Ruth Galloway Mystery series is called "The Ghost Fields". The book is set in the Norfolk region of northeast England and features Ruth Galloway, who is a forensic medical examiner. The "Ghost Fields" referred to in the title are old WW2 airbases which dotted the Norfolk countryside. In the book, a body is found in a crashed American airplane, uncovered during a land development dig. Galloway, a single mother, is asked by the local police to identify the age of the body, which was supposed to be in the crashed WW2 plane. It wasn't; the body was "added" to the plane and then "discovered". A local family, rather down-at-the-heels aristocrats, are related to the dead man. Some other bodies are discovered as the family's secrets are uncovered during the investigation.

Here's the thing about jumping into a book series without having read any of the preceding books. I had very little idea about "who was who", both career-wise and relationship-wise. And I found it hard to maintain a level of interest in either the plot or the characters. But that's MY fault for foolishly choosing a book to read that I had no "history" with. I'm giving the book four stars because I honestly feel that even though I didn't particularly enjoy it, the writing was strong. And, if you have read the previous books in the series, you'll enjoy "The Ghost Fields". Does that make sense?

Inspector of the Dead (Thomas De Quincey mysteries Book 2)
Inspector of the Dead (Thomas De Quincey mysteries Book 2)
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb second novel in the "Opium Eater" series..., 26 Mar. 2015
A good historical novel can both entertain and teach a reader. Author David Morrell's novel, "Inspector of the Dead" is the second in his "Thomas de Quincey/The Opium Eater" series. The first novel, "Murder as a Fine Art", was published in 2013. Readers of both books will learn a lot about the England in the 1850's. It's advisable to have Wikipedia near-by when reading Morrell's books; they can be learning experiences.

"Inspector of the Dead" follows "Murder as a Fine Art" by about two months. The same main characters from the first book are in the second, supplemented by both fictional and real characters. Thomas de Quincey - that real-life laudanum-saturated writer - along with his daughter, Emily, are still in London, after having solved previous crimes. They're grudgingly "put up" by Lord Palmerston at his house, along with the two Scotland Yard detectives, Ryan and Becker, who had been injured previously. One Sunday in 1855, the four attended services at St James's - the local Mayfair church - and were placed in Lord Palmerston's private pew. They witnessed a terribly bloody murder in the adjacent pew where a woman is found dead, with her throat cut. But Lady Cosgrove's murder is not the only one that day; several people at her home - including her husband - were found grievously murdered.

More murders occur and messages left on the bodies allude to "Young England", a group thought behind some assassination attempts of Queen Victoria in the early 1840's. Is someone trying to assassinate the Queen fifteen years later and what do the cries and pleadings of a young Irish boy trying to find help for his imprisoned mother and his sick father and sister in 1840 have to do with the current murder spree? And this is all against the backdrop of the badly-handled Crimean War and the falling apart of the Liberal government of Lord Aberdeen. In the crisis, Victoria is forced to ask Palmerston - whom she detests - to form a new government, and be on guard for her life.

David Morrell does not write "cozy" mysteries. Death is frequent and is never gentle. Those readers looking for a "pleasant diversion" will be sorely disappointed by "Inspector of the Dead". But readers looking for historical relevancy - in the criminal, political, and personal - and not afraid of a rising body count - will enjoy this book. I don't think its essential to have read "Murder as a Fine Art" first, but I'd suggest you do so. The characters of Thomas de Quincey and Emily are so interesting that having read the first book might be an advantage in reading the second one.

Holy Spy: The New John Shakespeare
Holy Spy: The New John Shakespeare
by Rory Clements
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Seventh in the series..., 22 Mar. 2015
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"Holy Spy" is British author Rory Clements' seventh novel in his "John Shakespeare" series. The series books, set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, are more similar to each other than not. All basically are concerned with threats to Elizabeth, both from within England and without. If the Spanish aren't sending an Armada off, then the threat might come - as it does in "Holy Spy" - from Catholic supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots. So the reader of all the Shakespeare books can assume Elizabeth and her survival are the plot points most often used.

But Elizabeth I is not the main character in these books. Oh, she pops up every now and again, but "Holy Spy" and the others star John Shakespeare - brother of a certain writer of plays - and Sir Francis Walsingham, who is in charge of the Queen's security and intelligence operations. In fact, Shakespeare and others working for Walsingham are called "intelligencers" because they are agents of Walsingham, sent out to pick up intelligence. And sometimes, as in "Holy Spy", they are sent out to create havoc among Elizabeth's many enemies. In "Holy Spy", Shakespeare manages to infiltrate a band of Catholics who are plotting to kill the "usurper" (Elizabeth) and place Mary on the throne. History tells us that Elizabeth managed to survive all these plots and reigned for 45 years. Shakespeare is also trying to clear his former lover, Kat, of the accusal of plotting to murder her wealthy husband.

So, if the plots are similar to each other, why do Rory Clements' books continue to be popular among readers of historical fiction? I think it's because with any good historical fiction, the discerning reader learns about the times and the characters - fictional and real - who made up that time and place. In fact, Rory Clements seemlessly weaves the real figures of the Catholic plotters and Francis Walsingham with the fictional John Shakespeare and his friends and helpers.

"Holy Spy" is a long book but an incredibly well-written one. The series reader returns once again to the Elizabethan age and is reunited with the characters so well crafted in previous books. "Holy Spy" is another excellent book in the series.

17 Carnations
17 Carnations
by Andrew Morton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.00

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Empty lives...and empty promises., 20 Mar. 2015
This review is from: 17 Carnations (Hardcover)
I enjoy Andrew Morton's books - always taking the information he doles out with a grain of salt - and this one, "17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis and the Biggest Cover-up in History", was no less gossipy than his others. The problem I have with this book is the title.

The lives of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, were, in the end, sad and empty ones. Most biographies of the couple - whether they are written in a positive or negative light - cannot come to any other conclusion. David and Wallis were interesting often in the terms of how they and their actions affected those around them. Whether in their birth families, Wallis's marriages and David's long-time affairs with married women, or their own courtship and marriage, what those two did sent out ripples into the lives of others. That they were basically thoughtless, self-absorbed individuals who made a thoughtless and self-absorbed couple, never seemed to affect their own actions. And that was the crux of the problems.

Okay, what does Andrew Morton claim was the "Biggest Cover-Up in History"? It was the hiding - by the British government and it's allies - of the Windsor's "dalliance" with the Nazis in the 1930's and 1940's. There were reports by government agents on the couple's associations with both the German Nazis and the home-grown ones in Britain during the 1930's and - more seriously - with Axis powers in Spain and Portugal in the early years of WW2. The Duke and Duchess had visited Germany several times, met Hitler, and were close with Joachim von Ribbentrop, German's ambassador to Britain. In fact, the "17 Carnations" in the book's title, allude to von Ribbentrop's - supposed - gifts to Wallis from the days they were - again supposedly - having an affair. There is no proof that Wallis and von Ribbentrop ever had a physical affair so the title of the book loses a bit of its effectiveness.

Andrew Morton also looks at the big, big claim that the Duke of Windsor was "flirting" with Hitler, in the early war years, pretending to go along with the German idea of putting David back on the throne - the one he had abdicated in 1936 - as a "puppet ruler" if the Germans successfully invaded England. That the Duke and Duchess would allow themselves to stay in Spain, rather than go to Lisbon and safety after leaving their French homes, was - supposedly - considered a possibility by both the British government and the Windsors, themselves. This would have been an act of treason, one of more than a few Churchill and his government considered the Windsors of committing, or thinking of committing. I'm not sure anyone quite understood the Duke of Windsor, who remained embittered his whole life after he abdicated for the "woman he loved". He hated his family for not treating Wallis and him in the respectful manner he wished to be treated. Again, neither of them seemed to have any idea of other people's needs. That his abdication had thrust his shy brother into the kingship he clearly didn't want, was obviously not important to David.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor continued their heedless journey into irrelevance, leaving others to pick up the pieces. Some of those pieces were contained in the secret files sought after the war. Were the files found in homes and castles in Germany? Did they exist in the first place. I truthfully couldn't quite tell from Andrew Morton's book what was the truth. We may never know, I suppose. But the one thing Morton does do in his book is tell the sad, empty lives of David and Wallis Windsor.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 20, 2015 1:51 PM GMT

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania (Random House Large Print)
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania (Random House Large Print)
by Erik Larson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.83

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "'It was a beautiful sight', he said", 10 Mar. 2015
The "beautiful sight" referred to in the title of this review was the thought of a passenger standing on deck of the "RMS Lusitania", on May 7, 1915 as he witnessed a torpedo in the water coming directly at the ship. The torpedo was covered with a silvery phosphorescence which made it glow softly as it approached the passenger liner off the southern coast of Ireland. It was beautiful, but deadly, and strangely silent. The resulting strike by the torpedo sank the Lusitania in less than 20 minutes and 1198 "souls" were lost that day. Some 700 others survived. And although the US didn't enter WW1 until nearly two years after the sinking of the Lusitania, the attack on the British passenger liner spurred thoughts of vengeance and war.

The sinking of the RMS Lusitania is the subject of author Erik Larson's latest work of non-fiction, "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania". The book starts off a bit slowly as Larson gathers the facts of story and weaves together a tale that sets the course of the Lusitania to intersect with the German U-boat 20. Larson writes alternating chapters - "Lusitania", "U-20", and "Room 40" in the Old Admiralty Building in London, among others - as the run-up to the attack moves slowly towards it climax. The reader knows that the "Lusitania" was sunk - no surprises there - but how Larson builds to that climax is writing that very few authors can do as well as Erik Larson.

Submarines - both German and British - became important tools of war by 1915. Germany had fewer than the British, but the Germans seemed to be far more venal in their use. Larson describes the interior of the German submarines and the dangers inherent in their design. Life for 20 or so men crowded together in small, smelly quarters as they hunted ships to attack was not easy or pleasant, but obviously appealed to some men. The captain of Unterseeboot-20 was Walther Schweiger, who was well regarded by both the German naval command and by the men who served under him. He was a "hunter", who was careful with the use of the seven torpedoes he carried on his submarine. He didn't want to waste them on smaller ships; he was hunting the big ships with a lot of cargo, a lot of tonnage.

But why was the RMS Lusitania hunted down? It was a British passenger ship, making a normal run between New York and Liverpool, carrying only civilians. Such passenger ships should have been "off limits" to German submarines but the German government had already warned potential passengers on the May 1st departure of the Lusitania from New York that it was a target of possible attack. An ad appeared in local New York newspapers but most of the passengers who set sail that day weren't worried. The ones who were worried were soothed by the ship's captain, William Turner, a no-nonsense long-time captain for the Cunard line.

The ship's journey across the Atlantic was tracked by the Admiralty, who was also keeping tabs on German submarine activity in the area. In a little-known office - Room 40 - code breakers and officials kept track of U-20. They knew it was "out there", but since U-boat captains were often out of signal range of their bases, the British could not take advantage of intercepting messages.

Returning to the passenger watching the torpedo as it came toward him; I can't imagine much more of a surreal moment. He and many other passengers and crew members had known their ship was moving into treacherous waters as they approached the coast of Ireland. Erik Larson takes all these people and government entities and makes suspenseful what shouldn't ordinarily be suspenseful. "Dead Wake" is a gem.

Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel (Jewish Lives)
Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel (Jewish Lives)
by Annie Cohen-solal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Rothko..., 10 Mar. 2015
Author Annie Cohen-Solal, in her new biography, "Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel", asks the provocative question, "Why, when during the previous centuries Jews had generally been absent from the visual arts, did the dawn of abstraction coincide with their entrance into the world of art, with Jewish collectors, critics, artists, dealers detecting, supporting, and following the lessons of the first Modernists?" And she answers it in her book by looking at the life, career, and world of Mark Rothko.

Rothko was at the turning point when American artists began to be valued as much as their European counterparts. He was part of a group of painters - Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, among other contemporaries - whose art transcended the past and moved these artists into the mainstream of accepted art. Their art was finally purchased and exhibited at the MoMA - which had the mindset of "European-art-is-best" - in the 1940's and 1950's.

Cohen-Solal examines Mark Rothko - born Marcus Rothkowitz in 1904 in current-day Latvia - in as much of a religious context as that of an artistic. For Rothko was a Jewish artist, and his religious beliefs and practices were important to his art. Mark Rothko emigrated from the Pale of Settlement in 1907 as conditions for the Jewish population became increasingly tenuous. His family settled in Portland, Oregon where his father died a few years later. Rothko was raised as an observant Jew - though curiously his elder brothers and sister were raised somewhat more haphazardly - and he was active as a teenager in the Russian Jewish neighborhood of Portland. He received a scholarship to Yale - that bastion of WASPness - but left after two years. After finding himself in the 1930's as a budding artist, he moved to New York City, and made his way steadily up the art world ladder into acceptance, and eventually some wealth.

But Mark Rothko was a contrarian, too. He accepted a commission to provide art for the new Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram Building, but pulled out and returned his advance when he visited the restaurant. He disliked the clientele, the menu, the ambiance, and, hell, the WEALTH of the place. Several panels of the art he had made were placed in Houston in the Rothko Chapel, built by the Menil family. His post-war years were his most fruitful but his persona began to change. He separated from his wife and two children in the late 1960's and committed suicide in 1970. His fame and his work have long outlived him.

Annie Cohen-Solal returns, in the end, to the city in Latvia he and his family had left more than 100 years before. His children opened a museum dedicated to Marcus Rothkowitz. He - and his art - had come full circle.

Gone to Ground: One woman's extraordinary account of survival in the heart of Nazi Germany
Gone to Ground: One woman's extraordinary account of survival in the heart of Nazi Germany
by Marie Jalowicz-Simon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "U-boats in Berlin"..., 9 Mar. 2015
For a reader of history, the term "U-Boats" generally refers to smallish submarines that the German navy used with such success in both WW1 and WW2. The boats - called "Unterseeboots" - claimed tons of cargo losses and lives of Allied ships in both wars. But that's not the only use of the term, "U-Boat". It also meant those people - mostly Jews in Berlin - who tried to escape the Nazi roundups and shipment to the camps and ghettos in "the East". These people lived under-the-radar, moving from place-to-place, trying to find a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and a bit of protection. They had to plot their movements and their conversation. They had to figure out who to trust, to survive. A word or reference to the wrong person might indicate she was a German Jew and using faked documents marking her as a Christian.

"Gone to Ground" is the memoir written by a Berlin Jew, Marie Jalowicz, 50 years after coming out of hiding during the war. Jalowicz, from an educated middle class family, went "to ground" after her father died and she was on Nazi lists to be sent east. Marie was able to call on friends, who set her up with other friends and acquaintances from 1941 til 1945. She moved around Berlin - the book has a map on the back cover of all the places she stayed during that time - and even tried to reach Palestine by getting faked documents that got her as far as Bulgaria. She was forced to return to Berlin in 1942 and continued to move around, until she found a place with people in an apartment house where she lived - still fearful for her life - until the Russians arrived in 1945.

One of the interesting points in the book were all the people who offered her refuge. Many were Communists - living with their own head's down - and some were die-hard Nazis, who took a liking to Marie because she claimed she was half-Jewish. Most of the civilians were themselves trying to eke out a living and a proper diet as the war ground slowly on towards defeat. After the war, Marie Jalowicz married a fellow she had known before the war. He had emigrated to Palestine, but returned to marry Marie and raise a family in the eastern section of Berlin. Marie became a noted professor at Humboldt University, but never really talked about her experiences as a "U-Boat". It was only shortly before her death in the late 1990's that she recorded her life story in the war years. Her son, a journalist, edited the tapes and put together this book, "Gone to Ground".

After reading this book, I again had the thought that Marie Jalowicz - like many other Holocaust survivors - lived her life during these years with no knowledge that if she hung on for another four years, she would be freed. How can a person live without knowing that bad times did have a limit? What makes a person go on?

I'm giving this book 5 stars because I think it was well done, but I don't think it will appeal to the regular history reader. It's somewhat dense, but I think living during those years must have been a dense and dark time.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2015 1:02 PM GMT

Charles: The Heart of a King
Charles: The Heart of a King
by Catherine Mayer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.33

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography of the Prince of Wales..., 20 Feb. 2015
"Charles Philip Arthur George" is the full name of Britain's Prince Charles, the current Prince of Wales. Charles is the longest waiting Prince of Wales since his great, great grandfather Edward waited for HIS mother, Queen Victoria, to shuffle off her mortal coil. Victoria was loathe to give her son many governmental responsibilities so Edward largely frittered his life away. However, when he did ascend to the throne on Victoria's death, he ruled wisely for the short period of his reign and proved a "bridge" between Victorian England and modern England. (A superb biography of Edward is Jane Ridley's recent "The Heir Apparent: The Life of Edward VII, The Playboy Prince")

But the Prince of Wales that journalist Catherine Mayer writes about in her excellent book, "Born to Be King: Prince Charles on Planet Windsor", is the current Prince. Best known, perhaps, as Diana's unloving ex-husband, the father to "the Heir and the Spare", George's grandfather, and Camilla Parker Bowles' tampon, Charles is a man whose identity is often at odds with reality.

Mayer, an American-born, UK-based writer, has gone behind the facade the world views Charles. Son of stiff and controlled parents, Charles has evolved into a caring father to his own two sons. But that emotional availability was not there with his first wife. Both Charles and Diana seemed to know their marriage would not succeed; both were needy emotionally and unable to relate to each other. Charles was as much an intellectual as the Windsor family had produced up til his generation, while Diana was both intuitive and emotional. Bad mixture, but they produced two sons who've grown into fine young men, who seem to have inherited the good qualities of both their parents.

Mayer's book is not a white-wash of the Prince of Wales. She is just as strong in pointing out his failings as she is his strengths. He has many interests - ranging from architecture to the raising of sheep to town development and job creation - but he is often a bit arbitrary in his projects and sometimes tactless in his public utterances. He oversees a wide-ranging group of charities, called the "Prince's Trust" and gives his time freely to those charities. As a man who is often at the center of gossip, he has a very small circle of trusted friends and advisers. And most of them address him as "Sir"; he keeps himself at a bit of a distance even from those he trusts. I assume his great love, Camilla, doesn't have to call him "sir", but who knows...

And Camilla Parker Bowles IS the great love of Charles' life. Their marriage comes out of the infidelity that both engaged in. But perhaps the root of the infidelity comes from the fact that Charles and Camilla should have married 40 years ago. Charles adored Camilla but wasn't allowed to marry her because Camilla had a "past". So he wed the proscribed virginal Diana and both Diana and Charles endured an unhappy marriage. His marriage to Camilla is a more mature one; both get on like the old and good friends they are.

So what does the future bring? As Catherine Mayer points out, if Charles does live to succeed his mother, his reign will probably be short. Despite the inane mutterings in the tabloids here in the United States, Charles MUST succeed his mother; she cannot bypass Charles and "give" the crown to William. The law is a successive one; the next in line is the ruler. So there will be a King Charles III and (probably) a Queen Camilla. Charles is a smart man and I'm sure his reign will be a good bridge between the long reigns of Elizabeth and William.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 11, 2015 6:24 PM GMT

The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel
by Matt Zoller Seitz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £21.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wes Anderson "channels" Stefan Zweig..., 11 Feb. 2015
Wes Anderson "channels" Stefan Zweig...and Matt Zoller Seitz chronicles the resulting movie.

Matt Zoller Seitz is the author of "The Wes Anderson Collection", a coffee-table book about the previous Wes Anderson films. He returns with a second book, "The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel", which is devoted to the filming, the writing, the scoring; hell...every part of the making of the movie. It's very detailed and a fine book for any Wes Anderson fan.

I am not a rabid "Wes Anderson fan". I've liked several of his movies and not others. I adored "The Royal Tenenbaums" and still wonder if the reason it struck such a chord with me and many others is that it happened to be released in December, 2001. It's melancholy sadness seemed "right" for the time as we coped with the after effects of 9/11. I cry every time I see the movie; maybe it still makes it okay to cry for the other event? I don't know, and that's a subject for another review.

Anyway, it was 2014 when "Budapest" was released. Sort of based on the stories of the exiled Stefan Zweig, Wes Anderson brought us an imaginary look at 1930's Mittel Europa and the great hotels where guests "took the waters" for weeks at a time. A large ensemble cast surrounds the superb acting by Ralph Feinnes as "M Gustave", the lead concierge at the "Budapest". The story is silly and poignant and thought-provoking, all at the same time. And along with the acting, the music, the sets, and the costumes were also memorable. Anderson's story takes place every where from the grand hotel, to a wealthy old woman's castle house, to a forbidding prison, to a monastery high in the mountains, then, finally, back to the not-so-grand hotel. The cinematography makes everything look right.

How much of the movie is "fact" and how much is "atmosphere"? There are no Nazis in the film; other troops belonging to the "Zig Zag" movement are there, instead. Newspaper headlines speak of the threat of war, but we're not sure exactly where the imaginary country of "Zubrowska" is located, though "the border" seems to be well-manned, making travel and border crossings difficult. This was largely true in the Central European mix of nations in the 1930's.

Matt Zoller Seitz's book is a complete look at the movie and the filmmakers, along with the man whose life and work inspired the movie. There is a lengthy section with selections of Stefan Zweig's writings. (For those who want to read an excellent book about Zweig, look for "The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World" by George Prochnik, published in 2014.) Zoller Seitz interviewed the director, the actors, the technical crews...but most of all, he interviewed Wes Anderson. Anderson, that quirky and meticulous director - is he a genius? - is quite candid about all the aspects of the making of the "The Grand Budapest Hotel". This is a large and wonderful book and a good companion to the movie. (By the way, is anyone else upset that Ralph Feinnes didn't get nominated for an Oscar?)

Lincoln's Body: A Cultural History
Lincoln's Body: A Cultural History
Price: £18.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent look at the "Cult of Lincoln", 8 Feb. 2015
This year, 2015, is the 150th year anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Many books have covered Lincoln's life and his death; Richard Wightman Fox's new book, "Lincoln's Body: A Cultural History", looks at how Lincoln has fared as an historical figure since his death.

Richard Fox, professor of History at the University of Southern California, begins his book with Lincoln's assassination, a well-documented story. But he concentrates both on how Lincoln perceived himself before his death and how others perceived him after. His death on April 15, 1865, unleashed mourning throughout the country. An elaborate program of his body's laying-in-state in Washington, DC, as well as in selected cities on the train trip back to Springfield, Illinois, made the nation a partner in his family's grief. He was finally laid to a somewhat unquiet rest in Springfield.

In the succeeding years, monuments and statues were erected in his honor, books were written, and his legacy was being assessed. Was Abraham Lincoln an emancipator of slaves or the man who faught to hold together the Union? Or both? How would he have governed in those difficult days after the Civil War ended? Would he have welcomed the South back into the Union or would he have imposed harsh penalties? Certainly "his" Reconstruction would have been different than Andrew Johnson's.

Fox's excellent book examines how the regard for Abraham Lincoln has risen and fallen and risen again in the last 150 years. Was he the saint who had lost his one chance at love with Ann Rutledge's early death or was that romantic tripe, made up to soften Lincoln's image after his death. Was he a dreamer or a realist about our country's future. Perhaps the low point of the "Cult of Lincoln" was Gore Vidal's "fictional biography", "Lincoln", published in the mid-1980's, where he tries to "humanize" the president.

Richard Wightman Fox presents a nuanced look at the "Cult of Lincoln". His book is a very readable account of a time in America's history when our national view of a beloved figure was turned into a cultural icon.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 9, 2015 10:34 PM GMT

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