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Land of Lincoln

Publisher: Grove Press • 2008 • 304 pages

Andrew Ferguson picked up the paper from his stoop one morning and saw the headline “Lincoln statue stirs outrage in Richmond.” “Who could object to Lincoln?”, Ferguson wondered. “It would be like objecting to the moon.” Ferguson – a senior editor of The Weekly Standard and a Lincoln buff since boyhood — was so puzzled by this headline that eventually led him on a coast-to-coast journey through contemporary Lincoln Nation, encountering everything from hatred to adoration to opportunism and all manner of reaction in between. The result of that journey is the frequently hilarious “Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe’s America” — a travelogue, a history, a biography, and a witty commentary rolled into one highly entertaining look at our sixteenth president, who is still making headlines.

In Land of Lincoln, Ferguson:

  • attends the national conference of Lincoln impersonators in Indiana — 175 grown men who make their living (sort of) by imitating their hero
  • seeks out the nations’ premier collectors of Lincoln memorabilia whose prized items include Lincoln’s chamber pot, locks of his hair, and pages from a boyhood schoolbook
  • attends a “leadership conference” that teaches businesspeople how to adopt Lincoln’s “management style.”
  • eavesdrops on the “Abephobes” of the “Lincoln Reconsidered” conference
  • considers the “Disney aesthetic” of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois
  • drags his wife and kids 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 60s
  • And much more. Along the way, Ferguson weaves in enough history to hook readers of presidential biographies and popular histories – while providing an entertaining celebration not only of Lincoln himself, but of the patriotic Americans who help keep his spirit alive.

“Extraordinary and wonderful” — Tod Lindberg, Washington Times

“There are at least 14,000 books on Abraham Lincoln, and even his greatest enthusiasts won’t claim to have read a tenth of them. Do we need another? Yes, indeed. What Andrew Ferguson offers in Land of Lincoln is the geography of enthusiasm itself” – Ernest W. Lefever in The Wall St. Journal

” ‘Land of Lincoln’ is like its subject: wise, funny, melancholic, virtuous, complex, tragic, undefeated, kind, stern, and possessed of a fund of wonderful stories.”– P. J. O’Rourke

“Now he belongs to the ages — including the age of kitsch, criticism and yearning in which we live. Andy Ferguson, one of the best writers in America, tracks Lincoln through twenty-first century America with humanity, clarity, humor, and passion — the very qualities of Lincoln himself.” — Richard Brookhiser, National Review

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