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Looking for Lincoln: The Making of an American Icon

Coffeetable books

Fri., Nov. 28, 2008

Go Ahead – Judge a Book by Its Cover

Looking for Lincoln: The Making of an American Icon

by Philip B. Kunhardt III, Peter W. Kunhardt, and Peter W. Kunhardt Jr.
Knopf, 512 pp., $50

What it aims to do: Follow up Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography and chronologically chart, from the assassination to the dedication of the Lincoln memorial, how Lincoln was remade in the public consciousness. The Kunhardts are uniquely qualified for the job – in 1911, five generations back, their ancestor Frederick Hill Meserve, the son of a Union officer, published The Photographs of Abraham Lincoln.

What it says about you: Your car bumper reads, "I'd rather be watching the History Channel."

The randomizer: Page 138 – "October 1868: Mary Lincoln Leaves the Country" dishes on Lincoln's widow's still-paralyzing grief, which manifested itself in part with an infantilizing coddle of youngest son Tad so overpowering that he was "unable to tie his shoes at age twelve."

Best accessorized with: Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Hey, it worked for Obama.

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