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 Amazon.fr. 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,
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 !