Our Inner Abes
LAND OF LINCOLN:Adventures in Abe’s America.By Andrew Ferguson.Atlantic Monthly Press.279 pp. $24
Looking for the real Abe Lincoln is like looking for Moby Dick, Rosebud, and the silver lining, all at the same time. Do not be fooled by the title of this book. Some stores will inevitably stock it under Travel, but its real purpose is to explore why America’s most complex, contradictory president still exerts such a psychological hold over us.
While a boy growing up in Illinois, Weekly Standard senior editor Andrew Ferguson collected the usual artifacts and memorized the Gettysburg Address, but he had become a Lincoln buff in remission. It seemed to him that Lincoln no longer belonged to the ages but to special pleaders, such as bipolar sufferers who latched on to his melancholia, or imaginative gay-rights advocates who saw a connection between his hellish marriage and the long circuit rides he made with other young lawyers in his Springfield days.