mardi 16 août 2011


Author : Gore VIDAL
Translator : Gérard JOULIE
Edition : Galaade éditions -2010-
916 pages (!)

Perhaps did you read this book a long time ago ! It was published in United-States on 1987, by Random House but had been  translated in French, just last year.
After reading "Little women" and a biography of Louisa May Alcott, I wanted to know more about the Civil War and Lincoln.
I bought this book  on and..... was very surprised when I understood that it was not a biography, but a novel and furthermore, that the novel focuses only on the period of his presidency and mainly took place in Washington and in the White House  !
I was a little disappointed, but my disillusion vanished soon !
This  book turned out to be a very good one and I learnt a lot in reading it  !

Don't laugh at me, but I learnt first that :
- President Lincoln was not a democrat but a republican,
- he was not an abolitionnist, but his wife was one,
I learnt too that :
- he wanted first to hold together the Union,
- he struggled during all his Presidency among crual, personnal trials :  a second son's death, Willie, aged 11, his wife's nervous breakdown and her money troubles ,
- he had to wage war with numerous incompetent generals,
- he struggled too against  his cabinet's members who imagined he was a weak leader,
 - he  had to manage numerous people, among them, the Secretary of State William Seward and the Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase,  who all wanted to be the next President,

F.B.Carpenter : 
First reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln- 1864-

Less seriously, I was too very interested by the life in the White House : not the secure one we can imagine today, but a manse where every body came in or came out, to ask the President for an employment, to bring medicines to the First Lady and so on....

My problem : to be unable to tell the difference between history and fiction !
Now, I have to find and read  a good biography !

7 commentaires:

  1. C'est vrai que cela peut être très intéressant de savoir, l'appétit pour la connaissance quand on l'a, demeure toute la vie. Je me suis rendue compte en te lisant que je savais peu de choses en fait de ce que tu racontais.

  2. I've heard this is a very good book, but I've never read it. I don't know much about Lincoln, so I probably should.

  3. Je n'aime pas quand il est difficile de démêler la réalité de la fiction.

  4. I was born on Lincoln's birthday and so hold a special place for him. He was a great president and yes had much to face in life. I hope you can find a biography which is well written in French. Or will you read on in English?

    Hugs from Holland ~

  5. I think you'll find most of those things are true when you read your bio. I'm trying to think of the best one I know of and can't come up with an author -- I bet your book blog friends will help. A real hero he was with a sad personal life. One of his real strengths was his ability to listen to all the opinions (like of those two people you mention) who weren't necessarily just there to agree with him. (He appointed them to cabinet posts even tho they would have liked to have his job.).

  6. 916 pages is a lot of pages! But this book does sound good. As a child, I loved to watch Lincoln biographical movies on TV.

  7. I admire you for reading such a big book on Lincoln. He is considered one of our greatest presidents. He is also a great folk hero. I've visited his birthplace and boyhood home as well as his museum. I hope you can find a good biography in French.