Featured Staff Picks Book: Lincoln's Dreams
Below is a review of Lincoln's Dreams, courtesy of Terra Bianchi, University Archivist.
“I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since…"
-Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 1847-1865 by Ward Hill Lamon
After Abraham Lincoln’s death, his friend Ward Hill Lamon described a dream that Lincoln told not even two weeks before his assassination. Lincoln dreamed of sounds of crying, walking downstairs, and asking a group of soldiers surrounding a body "Who is dead in the White House?" A soldier responded, "The President, he was killed by an assassin".
Researching for a famous historical novelist, Jeff Johnston is trying to discover the meanings between Abraham Lincoln’s dreams and other events surrounding the Civil War. When Jeff meets Annie, a patient of his old college roommate, he soon realizes that her dreams are intertwined with his own research. Her vivid and haunting nightmares slowly form into details of the Civil War that only someone battling on the front lines could know. The pair set out to Civil War battle sites, seeking answers for Jeff’s research and an explanation for Annie’s nightmares. As they travel from one site to the next and Annie’s dreams become more disturbing, both become determined to cure her ‘disorder’ and end the torment of those she dreams for.
Connie Willis’s Lincoln’s Dreams describes the places, events, and people involved in the Civil War through detailed research and its character’s reality and dreams. I was first introduced to this novel through a former colleague, while discussing Abraham Lincoln’s ‘premonition’ of his assassination. Always fascinated by dream interpretation and Lincoln’s life, this book immediately grabbed my attention. As Willis’s first novel, it is not without flaws, but her ability to entangle fact and fiction leaves the reader wanting equally more of the history and her characters.
Connie Willis has won six Nebula and Six Hugo Awards as well as the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Lincoln's Dreams. If you are interested in checking out Lincoln’s Dreams, please see the Staff Picks Display on the 2nd floor of the Robert R. Muntz Library.