Contact: Kay Shelton
E-mail Address: kayshelton[at]
Web site address:

All Illinoisans Invited to Read a Book about Lincoln

As part of the yearlong 200th birthday celebration of Abraham Lincoln and in an effort to promote reading, all Illinoisans are invited to read a book about President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln himself was an avid reader. Following popular community reads such as One Book, One Chicago, everyone in Illinois is invited to read Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power by Dr. Richard Carwardine. The first British author to win the Lincoln Prize awarded by Gettysburg College in 2004 for his book, Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, Carwardine is the Rhodes Professor of American History, St. Catherine College at Oxford University in England. He is the incoming President of Corpus Christi College at Oxford University and he recently received the Order of Lincoln, the highest honor given by the State of Illinois, granted by the Lincoln Academy.

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. Carwardine's book is an extraordinary biography, not a dry rendition of people, places, events, and dates. Instead, Carwardine explores how and why events unfolded, such as: 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? Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power is available in various formats from for a variety of prices; check with local bookstores or public libraries. For recommendations of books about Lincoln for younger readers, please see:

As part of the Land of Lincoln Statewide Read: Connecting with Mr. Lincoln reading project, Dr. Carwardine will be traveling to places throughout in Illinois during the month of April. Stops include Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, the Champaign County Historical Archives in the Urbana Free Library, the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, the Galesburg Public Library, and the National Archives and Records Administration-Great Lakes Region in Chicago. A tentative schedule appears at: under Events. A generous grant by the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission is sponsoring Carwardine's visit, and the Illinois Library System Directors' Organization endorsed it. Kay Shelton, doctoral student at Northern Illinois University, and Kathryn M. Harris, Library Services Director at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library are the Co-Directors of the grant project. For more information, please contact Kay Shelton at:

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