Land of Lincoln : Adventures in Abe's America

by Andrew Ferguson

Hardcover, 2007




New York : Atlantic Monthly Press , 2007.


A journalist embarks on a cross-country odyssey in search of Abraham Lincoln's place in modern-day America and discovers the often surprising legacy of his personality, philosophy, and mythology.

User reviews

LibraryThing member NewsieQ
A friend recommend this book because she knew I enjoyed Tony Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic. Although I don't believe Andrew Ferguson is quite as good a writer as Horwitz, Land of Lincoln was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The author sets out to find Lincoln where he is still remembered, honored or loathed. (Not surprisingly, most of the haters are in the South, where some of the wackos call him a war criminal.)

But the author is at his best when he's retracing his childhood tour of the Lincoln Heritage Trail with his reluctant children (and patient wife) in tow. Anyone who made a road trip in the '50s or '60s with their parents will get a stab of recognition.

The Land of Lincoln is a series of personal essays that manages to convey the many contradictions in what's written and believed about Lincoln as president, man and icon. In the process, readers get a 360 view of our 16th president.

After I finished reading the book, one question lingered, one that was expressed in the book by the author's young son. If it was OK for America to break from England, why wasn't it OK for the South to break away from the Union? Just think how things might have been different if Lincoln would have said to the South: "Good-bye and good riddance."

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LibraryThing member Seajack
I gave up on the audiobook partway through; perhaps the print version might've held my interest better, but I found the section on "collectors" tedious, FF'ed to the section on Lincoln "imposters" and wasn't grabbed by that part either. Seems like Ferguson has good ideas for articles, but they didn't come together as a continuous book for me.… (more)
LibraryThing member pbadeer
Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America was a roller coaster ride of reading. Sluggish at times, but humorous throughout, the book follows Ferguson (and his reluctant family's) quest to "discover" how Abraham Lincoln is viewed in this country. While primarily dealing with Kentucky/Indiana/Illinois, the book includes individuals and events throughout the US, some more noteworthy than others. What I found most notable in his writing is a biting sarcasm, somewhat sardonic, which seemed to underscore almost every scenario he experienced - whether Pro or Anti Lincoln. There seemed an unnatural investigative reporter's bias, but the bias seemed to change direction, so it became questionable where his true beleifs lie. As the book progresses, his true feelings become more clear - and irrelevant - as the Lincoln "spirit" comes through. A worthwhile read.… (more)
LibraryThing member fidchivers
This is a fun to book to read. Beyond that, it's hard to describe just what it is - part history, part travelogue, part research essay, part meditation. But it is this breezy back and forth that gives the book its strength. Ferguson's writing style is loose, anecdotal, engaging,and graceful. (His chapters on travelling with his teenage children will ring especially true to any history buff who has bribed their children to too many historical sights.) Think along the lines of Bill Bryson.… (more)



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