The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln

The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
From the best-selling author of The Emperor of Ocean Park and New England White, a daring reimagining of one of the most tumultuous moments in our nation's past
Stephen L. Carter's thrilling new novel takes as its starting point an alternate history: President Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865. Two years later he is charged with overstepping his constitutional authority, both during and after the Civil War, and faces an impeachment trial . . .

Twenty-one-year-old Abigail Canner is a young black woman with a degree from Oberlin, a letter of employment from the law firm that has undertaken Lincoln's defense, and the iron-strong conviction, learned from her late mother, that "whatever limitations society might place on ordinary negroes, they would never apply to her." And so Abigail embarks on a life that defies the norms of every stratum of Washington society: working side by side with a white clerk, meeting the great and powerful of the nation, including the president himself.  But when Lincoln's lead counsel is found brutally murdered on the eve of the trial, Abigail is plunged into a treacherous web of intrigue and conspiracy reaching the highest levels of the divided government.

Here is a vividly imagined work of historical fiction that captures the emotional tenor of post-Civil War America, a brilliantly realized courtroom drama that explores the always contentious question of the nature of presidential authority, and a galvanizing story of political suspense.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307272638
Branch Call Number: CAR
Characteristics: 515 p. ;,25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
cmlibrary_jrobinson Jul 05, 2016

Readers are transported to Capitol Hill, the homes of prominent citizens, and even into former confederate Virginia. Secrets abound and "our young heroes" will not understand what is really happening until it might be too late.

Sep 21, 2015

As a Canadian I found Carter's book on the Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln simply riveting right through to the last word. The in's and out's and story weaving is remarkable and mesmerizing.

Mardian Aug 27, 2015

Good to see that Philip Roth is not the only writer to tackle the "might have been" in American history!
I actually prefer his contemporary settings, and I, like everyone, await the cinematic handling of The EMPEROR...
Where's Oprah when you need her?!

May 05, 2015

Carter's work is remarkable and deep - he's a writer I've been searching for who ranks with John Irving as a weaver of stories rich in imagination, style and detail.

Sep 02, 2013

The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln operates under the premise that the 1865 assassination attempt failed and that Lincoln continues to inhabit the White House for another 2 years. His enemies in Congress push to impeach him and there’s a plot underway at the same time. A black female intern at the law firm that represents Lincoln is drawn into both his defence and solving a pair of murders.

Although the novel is of the alternate history variety it offers some insights into the mind set of people at the time. Interestingly, Lincoln’s most vociferous opponents aren’t those who think that he’s gone too far by abolishing slavery but the Radicals, as they were known, who thought he hadn’t gone far enough. Lincoln’s assassination turned him into a martyr and he is now regarded as the greatest President ever. At the time he was not seen that way and the novel reminds us of that.

There is quite a bit of insight into the lives of black people in Washington at the time. While the majority were poor and either fresh out of slavery or perhaps one generation removed there were wealthy and middle-class blacks.

It is no coincidence that the novel takes place in the hypothetical second term of Abraham Lincoln and was published in the second term of the first black President. There are parallels that are worth exploring.

The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln is a thoughtful and enjoyable alternate history murder mystery- a rare combination.

Jul 22, 2012

A good deal of fun and competent courtroom procedural. A fiesty heroine and the alternative history made this a good beach read.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
May 05, 2015

gbjgaudet thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at PMPL

To Top