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'The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln' author Stephen Carter at presidential museum Aug. 2

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[July 27, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- What if Abraham Lincoln had survived the assassination attempt by John Wilkes Booth and then two years later faced an impeachment trial for overstepping his constitutional authority during the Civil War? Stephen L. Carter, the best-selling author of a new novel that explores this possibility, will be at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum for a book discussion and signing in the Union Theater at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 2.

The event is free, but reservations must be made by calling 217-558-8934.

For educators, there will also be a free "Teacher Talks" session with Carter at 5:30 p.m. in the classroom at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Reservations may be made by calling 217-558-8953.

Carter is the author of "The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln," released July 10 -- 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.

The book centers on 21-year-old Abigail Canner, 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 and 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.

"I expect a lively question-and-answer session following Stephen Carter's presentation," said Eileen Mackevich, director of the presidential library and museum. "For instance, if Lincoln would have lived, would he have made a positive difference in race relations and the Reconstruction, or are these issues even larger than Lincoln? Carter has opened the door to many 'what ifs' by his carefully crafted works of historical fiction."

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Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University, where he has taught since 1982. He is the best-selling author of "The Emperor of Ocean Park" and "New England White," as well as seven books of nonfiction.

Born in Washington, D.C., Carter studied law at Yale University and went on to serve as a law clerk, first on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and later for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  

Carter's critically acclaimed nonfiction books on subjects including affirmative action, the judicial confirmation process and the place of religion in our legal and political cultures have earned him fans among luminaries as diverse as Anna Quindlen and former President Bill Clinton. The New York Times has called him one of the nation's leading public intellectuals.

An avid chess player, Carter is a life member of the United States Chess Federation. He and his family live near New Haven, Conn.  

For a book trailer from the publisher, click here.

For more information about events and exhibits at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, visit

[Text from Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum file received from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]

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