Book Buzz February 20, 2012: For Presidents Day, a tower of Lincoln books



For Presidents Day, a tower of Lincoln books

Source: LAT, 2-20-12


It’s Presidents Day, which through the years has become a celebration of George Washington, whose birthday was Feb. 22, Abraham Lincoln, who was born on Feb. 12, and other of our commanders in chief. Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. — where President Lincoln was shot and which continues to operate as a theater and is a National Historic Site — is celebrating, bookishly.

Ford’s Theater is opening a new Center for Education and Leadership on Tuesday, but inside today is a 34-foot tower of books. A tower of books about Abraham Lincoln.

That is an awful lot of Lincoln books.

The tower is 8 feet in diameter and is more than three stories tall. There are 7,000 books in the tower, while 15,000 books are said to have been written about Lincoln. “It makes a real statement to anyone that this is an important guy and there was a whole lot written about him, and there continues to be a whole lot written about him,” Paul Tetreault, director of Ford’s Theatre,” told NPR.

The only bummer about this extravagant display of Lincoln literary love is that it isn’t made of books; the book tower is constructed of aluminum, imprinted with copies of book covers. See photos of the Lincoln book tower at NPR.


Book Buzz February 20, 2012: Presidents’ Day Reading Suggestions



Reading Suggestions for this Presidents’ Day?

Source: SF Gate, 2-20-12

Here is a quick shot of one of our bookshelves with some POTUS flare. Far from a presidential expert, my favorite book by far is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.  If you have not read this one, it is a great telling of how Lincoln’s political savvy and personal strength helped to bring together rivals in a way that would be hard to imagine happening in today’s political climate.

The others books: Living HistoryThe Clinton Wars and The Audacity of Hope may be predictable to some….READ MORE



Presidents’ Day: Carl Sandburg’s ‘Lincoln’ — Our best presidents are as close as the nearest biography



Presidents Day: our best presidents are as close as the nearest biography

With biographies like Carl Sandburg’s ‘Lincoln,’ Americans can learn about past presidents on any day of the year.

Source: Christian Science Monitor,  2-20-12

Carl Sandburg was thought an unlikely choice by some to chronicle the life of Abraham Lincoln, but his lyrical prose still makes his biography on Honest Abe a compelling read today.

…With the arrival of another Presidents Day, perhaps now is as good a time as any to acknowledge our debt not only to Lincoln, but to Sandburg, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 for the concluding volumes of his Lincoln biography. Sandburg, best known as a poet, seemed an unlikely biographer of the nation’s 16th president when he started the project in the 1920s….READ MORE

Sandburg, who died in 1967 at age 89, wrote biography with the kind of flourish that can seem quaint to modern ears, but his basic sense of how to tell a good story is a reminder that even writers who aren’t professional historians also have something to contribute to presidential biography.

His “Lincoln,” though perhaps little read today, is part of a larger tradition of presidential biography started by Washington Irving, the 19th-century writer who gained fame as the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” before turning to a mammoth life of Washington. Then, as now, Americans depended on popular writers to chronicle their commanders-in-chief – a practice that continues today in the able hands of David McCullough, Richard Reeves, and others.

Thanks to Sandburg and his successors, we can connect with the lives of our presidents on Presidents Day, and every other day of the year.

Danny Heitman, a columnist for The Baton Rouge Advocate and a frequent essayist for national publications, is the author of “A Summer of Birds: John James Audubon at Oakley House.”