The Corner

Land of Lincoln

I’ve been dipping into Andrew Ferguson’s new book, Land of Lincoln, which is as wise and funny as you’d expect a book by Ferguson to be. (Between Ferguson, Steyn, O’Rourke, Brooks, Derb, and Goldberg, maybe we should start calling ourselves the “funny party.”)

Land of Lincoln is more like a comic anthropology than a biography. You can study secularization through statistics on church attendance, but it’s a lot more fun and interesting to notice that signs directing visitors to “Lincoln shrines” have turned into posters for “Lincoln sites.” That’s secularization, American-style. Through a thousand clever insights like that, Ferguson turns our ways of watching old Abe into a window onto who we are. And his closing thoughts about Lincoln “the icon” strike me as just right. This is a wonderful book.