9780151009992 / 0151009996

Why Lincoln Matters: Today More Than Ever


Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt



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About the book:

Politicians have been casting themselves as inheritors of the banner of Abraham Lincoln since his assassination nearly a century and a half ago, as former New York governor Mario Cuomo chronicles in the first of this slim but eloquent political treatise. From William Jennings Bryant to William Jefferson Clinton, from FDR through W, figures on the left and right have declared themselves heirs to the martyred "secular saint" of American statesmanship. (Ronald Reagan went so far as to misattribute eight conservative maxims from the great man at the 1992 Republican convention; the adages turned out to be the creation of a early-20th-century clergyman who was putting his own spin on the Lincoln legacy.) Cuomo notes that Lincoln is too complex a figure to belong exclusively to either the left or the right, but that doesn't stop him from finding an enduring link from Lincolns vision to Cuomo's brand of unabashed liberalism. The notion may be debatable, but Cuomo, one of the great orators of his generation, is as fluent at the keyboard as he is at the lectern, making Why Lincoln Matters a rewarding read for those on both sides of the divide. Fired by 9-11 and the 2004 presidential election, Cuomo surveys a host of contemporary issues---from the battle against terrorism to religion, race, and the role of government---interpreting the words and notions of his political hero like a true believer deciphers the Bible. One can dispute his conclusions, but his rousing passion and sense of mission are at the very least thought provoking and articulately reasoned. --Steven Stolder

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