THE RIVER ROAD: A Story of Abraham Lincoln by Meridel Le Sueur

THE RIVER ROAD: A Story of Abraham Lincoln

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There's wonderful material in this episode in Lincoln's youth- the flatboat trip he took down to New Orleans, when he was barely nineteen. But Meridel Le Sueur has trapped up the story in artificially studied language, a sort of romanticized vernacular, and has buried any vestige of drama in long maunderings and philosophizing and delving into the beginnings of Lincoln's concern for the rights of men, black or white....In 1828 Pigeon Creek and the neighboring Gentryville were at a crossroads, and Lincoln yearned over the westward surge of peoples, longing to be free of his father Tom, free to talk to the knowledgeable men he saw, free to read without risk of being considered lazy. Then came a chance to take rich farmer Gentry's produce down river to the New Orleans market, in company with young Allen Gentry. This is the tale of that trip, of storm and attack by frustrated Negroes, of new sights, of the horror of the slave market- and of the knowledge that his place was back in Indiana. The facts are there, the interpretation at times strained. It is the style and the overlay which slows the action that prevents its being important.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1953
Publisher: Knopf