I was cruising Costco for free food the other day when I ran across a new photo-book, Looking for Lincoln: The Making of an American Icon, by brothers Philip and Peter Kunhardt and nephew/son Peter Kunhardt, Jr., the fourth and fifth generations of the famous Meserve-Kunhardt family of Lincoln scholars and collectors. First, let me say that if you pay full list of $50 for this book there is something seriously wrong with you. Not because it isn’t “worth it”, but because you can get it from lots of sources for a much lower price. For example, at Costco I paid $30 (while this has been a year that has seen my Lincoln section balloon, I couldn’t resist).
The oversize, coffee-table style book is full of wonderful photos, paintings, drawings and etchings, including a section at the end with all 114 known photos of Lincoln. But what sets it apart from dozens of similar volumes is its chronology. Looking for Lincoln starts with the President’s assassination and progresses to the death of his son Robert in 1925, showing how the Emancipator’s image developed over the years. A cool concept and a cool book. So while you’re munching on tilapia out of a paper cup, head on over to that huge table of books and check it out.
By the way, the book is meant as an accompaniment to a two-hour PBS special with the same title due to air in the winter of 2009.