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"'Tis the saddest day in our history," wrote a mournful man. It was "an electric shock to my soul", wrote a woman who had escaped from slavery. "Glorious News!" a Lincoln enemy exulted. "Old Lincoln is dead, and I will kill the goddamned Negroes now", an angry white Southerner ranted. For the black soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts, it was all "too overwhelming, too lamentable, too distressing" to absorb.
There are many surprises in the story Hodes tells, not least the way in which even those utterly devastated by Lincoln's demise easily interrupted their mourning rituals to attend to the most mundane aspects of everyday life. There is also the unexpected and unabated virulence of Lincoln's Northern critics and the way Confederates simultaneously celebrated Lincoln's death and instantly - on the very day he died - cast him as a fallen friend to the defeated white South.
Hodes brings to life a key moment of national uncertainty and confusion, when competing visions of America's future proved irreconcilable and hopes for racial justice in the aftermath of the Civil War slipped from the nation's grasp. Hodes masterfully brings the tragedy of Lincoln's assassination alive in human terms - terms that continue to stagger and rivet us 150 years after the event they so strikingly describe.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By NoelAnn on 01-18-16
Better as a text book.
What disappointed you about Mourning Lincoln?
I read such rave reviews and it is obviously well done. I saw her on the daily show as well. But there was no plot. There is another book Philadelphia Aurora done using news clippings that works but unfortunately this really didn't as a novel. My book group was going to do it but even those of us who tried audible had a very hard time getting through it. A study book it is, well done yes but not a good read.
Would you ever listen to anything by Martha Hodes again?
If it has a through plot yes.