Ted Widmer-LINCOLN ON THE VERGE: Thirteen Days to Washington
Play • 12 min

LINCOLN ON THE VERGE: Thirteen Days to Washington ( Simon & Schuster) by Ted Widmer is a deep history of thirteen days in the life of Abraham Lincoln as he boarded a train in Springfield, IL and journeyed to Washington, DC to take the oath of office and be sworn in as the sixteenth president of the United States. Widmer, a Distinguished Lecturer at Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York and former speechwriter in the Clinton White House, offers “a colorful, richly detailed overture to Lincoln's odyssey” (Kirkus Reviews) and “a riveting piece of history and a first-rate read” (Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Chernow).

The country had never been more divided when Lincoln assumed office in 1861, and his journey to Washington was fraught with danger. The government was on the verge of collapse, and Southerners had vowed to prevent Lincoln’s inauguration by any means necessary. Stopping in numerous cities throughout Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and finally Washington, Lincoln’s safe delivery was, as Widmer writes, “A powerful symbol for the survival of democracy in America.”

Ted Widmer is a Distinguished Lecturer at Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York. He writes actively about American history inThe Washington Post, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, where he helped create the Disunion feature about the Civil War. From 1997 to 2001, he worked in the White House as a foreign policy speech writer.

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