Abraham Lincoln was our greatest president and perhaps the most influential American who ever lived. But what is his place in our country today? In this brilliant and captivating new book, Andrew Ferguson goes searching for Lincoln
in homes, museums, national parks, roadside motels, and elsewhere from Rhode Island
to Beverly Hills
. What he finds is a man whose spirit, mythology, and philosophy continue to shape our national identity in ways both serious and surprising.Ferguson
knows a thing or two about the Lincoln
mystique. As a child growing up in Illinois
, he hung photos of Abe from his bedroom wall, memorized the Gettysburg Address, and read himself to sleep at night with the Second Inaugural. But, decades later, just when Ferguson
had almost lost track of Lincoln
completely, his buffdom was reignited.
In Land of Lincoln
packs his bags and embarks on a journey to the heart of contemporary Lincoln Nation, where he encounters a world as funny as it is poignant, and a population as devoted as it is colorful. In a small town in Indiana
drops in on the national conference of Lincoln
presenters, 175 grown men who make their living (sort of) by impersonating their hero. He crisscrosses the country to meet the premier Lincoln memorabilia collectors, whose prized items include Lincoln
’s chamber pot, locks of his hair, and pages from a boyhood schoolbook. In a motel outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
, he attends a leadership conference that teaches businesspeople how to run their companies more effectively by appropriating Lincoln
’s “management style.” And in one of the book’s most amusing sections, Ferguson
takes his wife and children on a trip across the long-defunct Lincoln Heritage Trail, a driving tour of landmarks from Lincoln
’s life that wound through three states in the 1960s. At one point, Ferguson
even manages to hold a very special piece of American history in his hands (we wouldn’t want to spoil the fun).
Told with an irresistible blend of humor and pathos, and propelled by a boyish enthusiasm as vast as it is infectious, Land of Lincoln
is an entertaining, unexpected, and big-hearted celebration of our sixteenth president’s enduring influence on our countryand the people who help keep his spirit alive. Watch Brian Lamb's interview with Andrew Ferguson on C-Span.