From the best-selling author of The Emperor of Ocean Park and New England White, comes a daring reimagining of one of the most tumultuous moments in our nation’s past.
Stephen L. Carter’s thrilling new novel takes as its starting point an alternate history: President Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Two years later he is charged with overstepping his constitutional authority, both during and after the Civil War, and faces an impeachment trial....
Twenty-one-year-old Abigail Canner is a young black woman with a degree from Oberlin, a letter of employment from the law firm that has undertaken Lincoln’s defense, and the iron-strong conviction, learned from her late mother, that “whatever limitations society might place on ordinary negroes, they would never apply to her.” And so Abigail embarks on a life that defies the norms of every stratum of Washington society: working side by side with a white clerk, meeting the great and powerful of the nation - including the president himself. But when Lincoln’s lead counsel is found brutally murdered on the eve of the trial, Abigail is plunged into a treacherous web of intrigue and conspiracy reaching the highest levels of the divided government.
Here is a vividly imagined work of historical fiction that captures the emotional tenor of post-Civil War America, a brilliantly realized courtroom drama that explores the always contentious question of the nature of presidential authority, and a galvanizing story of political suspense.
©2012 Stephen L. Carter (P)2012 Random House Audio
Is putting Lincoln on the stand just a sham? Remember, Lincoln???s successor, Andrew Johnson, WAS impeached by the House of Representatives. Lincoln had VERY limited support in his own government. He DID suspend Habeas Corpus.
I assumed I would be reading a story with a strong opinion on Lincoln laced with modern preaching. I was dead wrong. I dare say there is some genius in this novel. Mr. Carter???s book is actually stunning in its scope and I never once felt a single moment of authorial intrusion. Thank God! The characters are independent and the course of the novel is driven by their actions. The author never shies away from allowing the actual members of the U.S. government to become fully engaged in this conflict. There are senators, congressmen, chief justices, and Civil War generals buzzing about Washington like angry hornets. Racism had bloody teeth back then and Abigail, an educated ???colored??? woman gives us an excellent lead character. She???s very real, very vulnerable, and very motivated to push to the dark center of a conspiracy.
I LOVED the book???s portrayal of the capital city. Washington D.C. is a half-constructed labyrinth of Byzantine politics, skullduggery, and even murder. I was there. I was surrounded.
I did not give the book 5 stars because it is very slow moving and takes quite some time for the effects of the tale to take hold of you. The plot lines are heavily dialogue-driven. So, instead of FOX News fireworks, you???ll get something more akin to C-SPAN. That said, if you can weather the chatter of lawyers and politicians, you will be pleased to find yourself submerged into the deep waters of a fully imagined era.
In the end, Mr. Carter???s novel explores the phenomenon of a moral debate when it enters the arena of power politics. A moral position can be massacred by legal sharpshooters who serve powerful people. However, time is a courtroom with a jury of generations. History always issues the final verdict.
I love reading and going on vacation with my family.
I was expecting to have more face time with Lincoln in this novel, unfortunately the double murder of an attorney and a black woman take center stage and the impeachment becomes more of a side show for most of the book. I think the idea behind this book was creative, but it just didn't hit the mark for me.
As far as the conspiracy theory and the mystery behind the murders, it did keep my attention as a mystery, but I found myself relatively detached from Lincoln's impeachment as a result. Someone familiar with the language of the law world may enjoy this book more than I did, since the author is an attorney, but I just found it overwhelming.
A story based on the premise President Lincoln survived being shot by John Wilkes Booth sounded ridiculous. On the other hand I have always wondered what would of happened if Mr. Lincoln had survived. In spite of a bit of a slow start not listening to this book never crossed my mind and not long into it I realized I really was hooked. I feel I know post civil war American better thanks to this book. Paul Boehmer does a great narration!
Say something about yourself!
I was excited to listen to this book, but it remains 1/2 finished. I find the heroine's abilities too much to be believed. Young, naive and inexperienced in the world, but able to deduce how all the sneaky political games are being played and be a key part of the legal team strategy. Really??
Good premise for a novel, but the female character ruins the storyline.
If like historical fiction, this one should be at the top of your list. You forget that he actually died and none of this happened. It seemed so real.
Possibly. There was a lot of information and it would be good to take it all in again.
The mix of real and fiction.
The building of emotions and excitement in the story.
It made me do both.
Proud to be able to say I "read" this bestseller that I might not have had time to read otherwise!
I would put this in the top one-third. I've listened to a LOT of audiobooks, though.
I would compare it to a number of mass-appeal civil war/reconstruction histories, also to some alternative history novels.
Good pacing, differentiation among speakers without being artificial or corny.
Revelations towards end about conspiracies.
This is a fun audiobook for someone who is a bit of a history "nerd" and enjoys alternative histories that are not focused on the intricacies of military theory and or an intimate knowledge of the period covered. I liked it a lot. It is not very much like Carter's other novels, which I also read and enjoyed, in that it has a bit more universal appeal and is not focused on a particular ethnic group and class, but it is equally well written and plotted.
not to record it. I hung in there so long but it never got better.
three books in this story...really??
a black woman in these times as a lawyer and her strong conviction in her self from home trainng. I had hopes cuz it was a black author but was I wrong.
waste of money.
Only a period fanatic would appreciate the story. It takes half the book to get to the trial and then side steps the trial for other sub plots.
The most interesting is the acting.
Writer, economist, stand-up comic
Brilliant historical insight. I appreciated how Carter wove the resl impreachment of Andrew Johnson into his non fiction
Phillip Roth's Plot Against America.
Suspense leading to the verdict which never came
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