(Now Available from Fordham University Press)
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Description: In his third book, Jim Percoco examines many of the nearly 200 memorials erected in the memory of Abraham Lincoln as part of a quest to learn what these monuments meant when they were unveiled, mean to the nation today, and to him.This book is the first in 50 years to explore Lincoln sculpture within the construct of post Civil Rights America.
Summers with Lincoln gives a tantalizing and far different look at Abraham Lincoln than ever before, while prodding the reader to question assumptions about Lincoln, civic commemoration, American civil religion, collective memory and mythology.
On December 4, 2008 The Washington Times reviewed Jim's new book. Read the review here
“A unique and inspiring story…allows modern readers again to understand—to feel—the power of these silent monuments.”—from the foreword by Harold Holzer, author of Lincoln at Cooper Union, and winner of the Lincoln Prize
“This splendid evocation of Lincoln's image in sculpture combines poetic description, human-interest anecdotes, and incisive analysis. James Percoco shows how the different styles of public art shed light on the changing memories of our greatest president. Each chapter alone is worth the price of this book."—James M. McPherson, Princeton University, author of This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War
"The real secret of the Percoco classroom magic is that unbeatable combination of a love of teaching and an all-out love of his subject. Percoco is one of the finest examples the nation has of a history teacher."—David McCullough
"Summers with Lincoln is pure pleasure. Part Lincoln biography, part cultural exploration, this one exceptional teacher’s journey to discover the historical and the iconographic Lincoln takes us all on a wonderful tour of quintessential American monuments.…fun and enjoyable."–Kate Clifford Larson, author of The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln
"Percoco is the ideal tour guide. He knows the history behind the Lincoln monuments, but he appreciates their artistry and symbolism as well. And he's a terrific teacher--lively, engaged, as enthusiastic about his subject as he is about his students."—James Oakes, City University of New York and author of The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Anti-Slavery Politics of America.
"A major new contribution to the study of public memory. Jim Percoco demonstrates that he is not just a great teacher, but also a careful Lincoln scholar and a thoughtful, often quite eloquent critic."—Matthew Pinsker, Dickinson College, author of Lincoln’s Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers’ Home
"In this extraordinary new book, James Percoco has not only given us a fine piece of scholarship …. he has also mapped out a fascinating journey through the landscape of the nation's history. It also provides an exciting basis for an educational vacation through some of our nation's most important historical landmarks."—James O. Horton, George Washington University and author of Hard Road to Freedom: The Story of African America
"Moves us closer to a real appreciation of the man and the myth. We understand why Lincoln captivates our public memory [and how] Lincoln belongs to the ages and to all of us. "—Eileen R. Mackevich, Executive Director, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
“Join a master teacher on his pilgrimage throughout the Lincoln landscape. …. Percoco ponders the ongoing meaning of Lincoln with his thoughtful meditations on public sculptures.”—Thomas F. Schwartz, Illinois State Historian, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
"A uniquely engaging and informative contribution to our understanding of Lincoln and his memory. "—Jean Baker, Goucher College, author of Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography
"Jim Percoco is a wonderful teacher, a fine writer, and just the right person to take readers with him during his Summers with Lincoln. "—Ed Linenthal, Indiana Univesity, and author of Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields
"Readers of James Percoco's breezy, informative, and entertaining examination of seven prominent Lincoln monuments may feel an irresistible urge to leap from their chairs and rush to Washington, Chicago, Cincinnati, Newark, and Fort Wayne. "—Michael Burlingame, Connecticut College, and author of The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln
"Percoco’s colorful narrative brings alive monuments of Lincoln and reminds us that looking at public sculpture is a rewarding participatory act. Through the lens of these sculptures, Percoco unravels Lincoln the myth, reconciling it with Lincoln the man."—Thayer Tolles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
“Percoco’s Summers will amaze readers and inspire teachers.” -- Gabor Boritt, Director of the Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College
“This thoughtful, perceptive book reminds us that silent places – modest buildings and simple statues as well as noble memorials – often speak loudest in linking us with our past. These embodiments of our shared national memory are worthy of our deepest respect and our most determined preservation efforts.”--Richard Moe, President, National Trust for Historic Preservation