A Closer Look at Presidential Libraries on A House Divided

A House Divided

Daniel Weinberg talked with Jodi Kanter about her book, Presidential Libraries as Performance. Brian Dirck was scheduled to talk about Lincoln in Indiana, but was unable to attend.

Kanter’s Presidential Libraries as Performance considers the moments in the presidents’ lives the museums choose to interpret, and not to interpret, and how the libraries approach common subjects in the presidential museum narrative—the presidents’ early years in relation to cultural ideals, the libraries’ representations of presidential failures, personal and political, and the question of presidential legacy.  Kanter demonstrates how the presidential libraries generate normative narratives about individual presidents, historical events, and what it means to be an American. 

Dirck’s Lincoln in Indiana tells the story of Lincoln’s life in Indiana, from his family’s arrival to their departure. Dirck explains the Lincoln family’s ancestry and how they and their relatives came to settle near Pigeon Creek. He shows how frontier families like the Lincolns created complex farms out of wooded areas, fashioned rough livelihoods, and developed tight-knit communities in the unforgiving Indiana wilderness.  With evocative prose, he describes the youthful Lincoln’s relationship with members of his immediate and extended family. A triumph of research, Dirck cuts through the myths about Lincoln’s early life, and along the way he explores the social, cultural, and economic issues of early nineteenth-century Indiana. The result is a realistic portrait of the youthful Lincoln set against the backdrop of American frontier culture. It is part of the Concise Lincoln Library.

Both titles are published by Southern Illinois University Press. Both are available in 1st edition, signed. Order Now.