Before he grew up and became one of Washington's most respected reporters and editors, Andrew Ferguson was, of all things, a Lincoln buff. Like so many sons of Illinois before him, he hung photos of Abe on his bedroom wall, memorized the Gettysburg Address, and read himself to sleep at night with the Second Inaugural or the "Letter to Mrs. Bixby." Ferguson eventually outgrew his obsession. But decades later, his latent buffdom was reignited by a curious headline in a local newspaper: Lincoln Statue Stirs Outrage in Richmond. "Lincoln?" thought Ferguson. "Outrage? I felt the first stirrings of the fatal question, the question that, once raised, never lets go: Huh?" In Land of Lincoln, Ferguson embarks on a curiosity-fueled coast-to-coast journey through contemporary Lincoln Nation, encountering everything from hatred to adoration to opportunism and all manner of reaction in between. He attends a national conference of Lincoln impersonators in Indiana; seeks out the premier collectors of Lincoln memorabilia from California to Rhode Island; attends a Dale Carnegie-inspired leadership conference based on Lincoln's "management style"; drags his family across the three-state-long and now defunct Lincoln Heritage Trail; and even manages to hold one of five original copies of the Gettysburg Address. Along the way he weaves in enough history to hook readers of presidential biographies and popular histories while providing the engaging voice and style of the best narrative journalism. Ultimately, Land of Lincoln is an entertaining, unexpected, and big-hearted celebration of Lincoln and his enduring influence on the country he helped create.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 When Lincoln Came Back to Richmond 1
Chapter 2 Billy Herndon and the Inner Mr. L. 32
Chapter 3 The Past Isn't What It Used to Be 69
Chapter 4 The Kingmaker's Wife; the Emotional 90
Engineer, and the Triumph of Fun.
Chapter 5 The Magic: of Stuff 117
Chapter 6 A Sea of Lincolns 152
Chapter 7 Abe Lincoln and the Secret of Success 167
Chapter 8 Hot on the Trail 199
Chapter 9 A Whole Lotta Lincoln 231
Chapter 10 In Defense of the Icon 259
Photo Credits 281