The Last Weeks of Abraham Lincoln: A Day-by-Day Account of His Personal, Political, and Military Challenges

David Alan Johnson. Prometheus, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-63388-397-0
Johnson (Battle of Wills: Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and the Last Year of the Civil War) provides a different perspective on events known to those familiar with Lincoln. Some of the facts he includes, such as that Southern slaves joined the Confederate Army and that there was a suspected attempt on Lincoln’s life on board the River Queen en route back to Washington, will be new to many readers, but the book’s strength lies in the format: by going through Lincoln’s days in detail, it inevitably includes the prosaic as well as the historic. For example, in mid-March, an exhausted Lincoln decided that he needed two days in bed to regain his strength, and, on April 3, a conference he held with Ulysses Grant about postconflict planning was interrupted when one of Grant’s aides realized that 11-year-old Tad Lincoln needed lunch. Johnson makes Lincoln, and the events leading up to the end of the Civil War, both vivid and relatable; he describes the tragedy at Ford’s Theater initially from the vantage point of the audience before moving on to the perspective of those in Lincoln’s box. The end result is an accessible and fresh look at one of the most consequential periods in U.S. history. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 10/02/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-63388-398-7
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-63388-814-2
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