A groundbreaking, magisterial study that explains why, like Walt Whitman, we “love the president personally”
In a stunning feat of scholarship, insight, and engaging prose, Lincoln’s Body explores how a president ungainly in body and downright “ugly” of aspect came to mean so much to us.
Nineteenth-century African Americans felt deep affection for their “liberator” as a “homely” man who did not hold himself apart; Southerners felt a nostalgia for Abraham Lincoln as a humble “conciliator.” Later, educators glorified Lincoln as a symbol of nationhood to help assimilate poor immigrants. Monument makers focused not only on a gigantic body but also on a nationalist union, downplaying emancipation. Among both black and white liberals in the 1960s and 1970s, Lincoln was derided or fell out of fashion. Recently, Lincoln has been embodied once again (as idealist and pragmatist) by outstanding historians, by self-identified Lincolnian president Barack Obama, and by actor Daniel Day-Lewis—all keeping Lincoln alive in a body of memory that speaks volumes about our nation. Download and start listening now!