Buy the book: Lincoln's Melancholy here.

My Essays on Lincoln

Cover of Atlantic Monthly“Lincoln’s Great Depression,” The Atlantic Monthly, October 2005
An adaptation of Lincoln’s Melancholy, offering the broad themes and arguments of the book in about 8,000 words.
Click here to download the PDF.

Cover of Time Magazine“The True Lincoln,” Time Magazine, July 4, 2005
The lead essay in Time’s special issue on Lincoln, this piece surveys the uses and abuses of Lincoln through history, and explains why we’re able now to see his true character as never before.


Cover of Time Magazine d“Comes Wisdom to Us,” Beliefnet, February 12, 2006
dAn excerpt of the last chapter of Lincon’s Melancholy.



EUREKA DEPT. The Suicide Poem,” The New Yorker, June 17-24, 2004
A short piece on the discovery of Lincoln’s long-lost “suicide poem.” I also discussed the poem — and what it shows us about Lincoln’s turbulent early years — on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

Being Abe Lincoln,” The Atlantic Monthly, February 2002
An essay on my fateful trip to the Association of Lincoln Presenters annual convention.

Joshua Shenk in Costume
Joshua is circled in red.

Beyond a Black-and-White Lincoln,” The New York Times, April 7, 2002.
A review essay on Suzan-Lori Parks’s The America Play and her Pulitzer-Prize winning Topdog/Underdog. Both plays feature characters who dress up as Lincoln in carnival acts, while customers line up to shoot them in the head.

The Myth of Lincoln, Reconstructed,” The American Prospect, February 26, 2001
A review of several Lincoln texts, which urges the need to shed old, tired myths for a new viable one.