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Land of Lincoln Statewide Read: Connecting with Mr. Lincoln

Dust jacket cover of the book Lincoln:  A Life of Purpose and Power

Happy Birthday
President Lincoln!!

The year 2009 marks the Bicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln's birth. Two hundred years passed since his birth on February 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. In commeration of the 200th anniversary of this great American's birth, we invite you, your family, and your library to join other citizens in Illinois in reading at least one book about Abraham Lincoln.

Recommended by one of this country's best experts on Lincoln, the people of the great state of Illinois can join together in reading Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power by Richard Carwardine, published in New York by Alfred A. Knopf in 2006. This book won the Lincoln Prize, awarded by the Lincoln and Soldiers Institute at Gettysburg College.

The reading level of Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power is appropriate for adults and high school students, and perhaps some very ambitious younger readers, ready for a challenge.

Children will not be left out as there are other books available about Lincoln appropriate for different age groups.

A few comments on Dr. Carwardine's book. It is an extraordinary biography, not a dry rendition of people, places, events, and dates. Instead, Carwardine explores how and why events unfolded:

How did audiences react to the Lincoln-Douglas Debates?

How did Lincoln develop the idea of "A house divided against itself cannot stand"?

How did Lincoln make decisions to lead our country out of its darkest hours?

How did Lincoln cope with people growing impatient as the war dragged on and became less popular?

How and why did Lincoln free the slaves?

A few words about the author . . . Dr. Carwardine is the Rhodes Professor of American History at St. Catherine's College, of Oxford University, and is the future President of Corpus Christi College. He is the first British author to earn the prestigious Lincoln Prize, awarded by Gettysburg College. Abraham Lincoln, often considered our greatest president, transcends mere country boundaries. So, please join us on a journey, one that will take us across the fields and woods of Illinois, to the gleaming white marble of Washington, D.C., to the battlefields of Vicksburg, and to the ghosts of Gettysburg . . .

This project is sponsored in part through a generous grant by the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and is endorsed by the Illinois Library System Directors' Organization which serves as the fiscal agent for the grant. Kathryn M. Harris, Library Services Director at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Kay Shelton, doctoral student at Northern Illinois University, are your Co-Directors.

The grant will provide funding to bring Dr. Carwardine from England to key areas throughout Illinois in the month of April.

Logo for the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial We encourage your local library to plan community book discussions and identify local and regional experts on Lincoln who could provide insight on his life and legacy for public talks at libraries or other community centers.

Please, for 2009, read a book about Abraham Lincoln . . .

For libraries and book clubs--Join the online blog discussion or use the questions to generate your own book talks!

For our government leaders--You are invited to write about what Abraham Lincoln means to you, to history, and/or the State of Illinois. Please go here to share your thoughts online or send e-mail to: kayshelton[at]hotmail.com

For a press release, please click here.

--Kay Shelton

Please do not forget our Civil War Soldiers

To purchase Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, please visit Amazon.com, order from the publisher Random House, or visit your local bookstore. This book is available for the Kindle through Amazon.com, hardcover, paperback, audio download, audio CD, audio cassette, or MP3 download.

Last Update: 9 March 2009, Kay Shelton, kayshelton[at]hotmail.com