If you go to Amazon and search for books about Abraham Lincoln, you’ll get 101 pages of results; and that’s only the books that the online retailer has in its own inventory. There are no doubt hundreds of books that are out there that Amazon doesn’t stock for one reason or another. Lincoln is certainly one of the most written about figures in world history, and some of us just can’t get enough of reading about him. It doesn’t matter that a new biography may cover much of the same ground that the last six I’ve read do. Lincoln’s story is continually inspiring, and I find that at whatever age I read a new Lincoln biography, I come away with lessons that speak to me about who I am at that particular time in my life.
Lincoln was brilliant, wise, funny, folksy, deeply flawed, hugely ambitious, morally ambiguous (until he came down firmly on the side of emancipation), preternaturally articulate – the list of descriptors goes on and on and on.
So as a lover of all things Lincoln, I was eager to talk with author Stephen Harrigan about his new historical novel “A Friend of Mr. Lincoln.” The book tells a story about the 16th president’s years as an ambitious young lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. Although it is a novel, Harrigan did deep research to get at the true facts of Lincoln’s life in those days.
Did you know Lincoln had aspirations to be a poet? That he was completely bewildered by women? That one reason he may have been attracted to Mary Todd was that she gave off a strong “sexual musk,” according to Harrigan? Harrigan and I talk about all this and more.
Then, a conversation with the great Southern humor writer Roy Blount, Jr. His new book is called “Save Room for Pie.” It’s a collection of essays, poems, songs and fake news stories about food. As always, Roy is hilarious.