It was March 28, 2008 when I first blogged about reading this book on my Kindle. At the time I reported that the hardcover book was 944 pages and weighed in at 2.4 lbs. according to the information from Amazon's site. On Kindle it was under 5 Mb.
I actually purchased and downloaded it on March 22, 2008. And just for the record I paid $9.99 and I don't know what the hardcover price was then. It was published in December, 2006 though; so, it had been out awhile.
Really I did not expect it to take more an a year to read the book. And the book was interesting. The writing was fine although not exactly of "page turner" style. In terms of style and format I would have really appreciated shorter chapters and there are so many details and characters presented that it is easy to become bogged down in them and distracted from the story.
But the story itself is so interesting and intriguing that this really is a wonderful read. About 1/'3 of it is notes and references and so on including a photo section -- all in the back. This is not history you learn in school. Really it is neither dry nor uninteresting. Many of all those details I just complained about help provide a decent human understanding of both the people and times.
This book made more real for me the horror of the civil war and the sacrifice of so many men and women who ultimately waged it in all too bloody terms a great moral struggle.
At the end the pages that describe the assassination and the near term aftermath are so poignant. If I had read nothing else I think that alone would make the entire book worthwhile.
Lincoln is the central character as one might expect and by the end of the book his already giant standing in my mind had grown by several orders of magnitude.
Slavery is so strange to contemplate as such an everyday, casual part of life. Then the fact that it took a terrible war with horrible losses on both sides to resolve the issue is even more amazing to me.
As horrible as war is, and that one was, it is even more horrible to think that the evil of slavery be allowed to survive even a short time longer.
I wonder how things would have been different if Lincoln had survived and been able to lead the nation during the subsequent reuniting of the country.
I thought at one point during my reading that one high mark of leadership was simply staying the course.
I am certain I am going to be thinking about this work for a good while. I am glad it is over but I am so glad I've read it.
I really recommend this book if you have the time and patience.