Friday, June 20, 2008

With Malice Toward None

There was an election approaching. Many thought the nation was at a crossroads, and that this presidential race might change the direction of the country. There were many well known candidates, but the one who took his party's nomination was a previously unknown politician from Illinois. He rose quickly to prominence in the party, due largely to his eloquence and his debate skills.

Does this sound familiar?

I am not referring to Barack Obama, but to Abraham Lincoln and the election campaign of 1860. I was struck by the similarities between that election campaign and the current one. I also noted that we are approaching several Lincoln-related anniversaries; the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth and the 150th anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. I recently traveled to Springfield to experience the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. If anyone is interested in Lincoln or in museums in general, I highly recommend a visit. The facilities are state of the art, and the exhibits are captivating. I left the museum having learned more about Lincoln than I ever had in school, and I was inspired to learn more.

When I returned I checked out several books about Lincoln. I suggested the library lead a book discussion of a Lincoln biography and I later learned that the Des Plaines Public Library has a number of programs coming up to commemorate those anniversaries.

The book I chose for discussion is With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen B. Oates, a very thorough and well-written book. The discussion will take place on Tuesday, September 2nd at 10AM. Registration is required and books are available at the Readers' Services Desk one month prior.

I also strongly considered choosing the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin because it was also well-written and well-reviewed and dealt more directly with the election campaign. And though I highly recommend the book, I thought it a little too vast for our discussion.

On October 5th, the Des Plaines Public Library is hosting the Lincoln-Douglas Debate: An abridged version of the fifth debate that was held on October 7, 1858 in Galesburg, Illinois. It will be presented by Michael Krebs and Larry Diemer. On November 23rd, nationally-acclaimed folksinger and songwriter Chris Vallillo will bring Abraham Lincoln to life from his birth in Kentucky in 1809 through his tragic death in 1865 in a program called Abraham Lincoln in Song. Registration for both programs is required.

1 comment:

cathy said...

While David's visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum piqued his interest in books about Abraham Lincoln, the reverse has happened to me. A book has piqued my interest to explore Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan has taken Chicago by storm. It is a popular book club book and it is our choice for the Tuesday, July 1st book discussion. The author, a native of Oak Park, and has written a fictionalized account of the love affair of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mameh Cheney. Though the book emphasizes the relationship,
as you are reading, you can't help but want to see some of the buildings and designs that are referenced. The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust in Oak Park offers many tours and I have no doubt attendance is high this year due to this novel. To get the book come to us. To find out more about the tours go to www.gowright.org or call 708-848-1976.

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