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Kindred spirits despite their profound differences in position, Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman shared a vision of the democratic character. They had read or listened to each other’s words at crucial turning points in their lives, and both were utterly transformed by the tragedy of the Civil War. In this radiant book, poet and biographer Daniel Mark Epstein tracks the parallel lives of these two titans from the day that Lincoln first read Leaves of Grass to the elegy Whitman composed after Lincoln’s assassination in 1865.
Drawing on newspaper accounts and diary records, Epstein shows how the influence and reverence flowed between these two men–and brings to life the many friends and contacts they shared. Epstein has written a masterful portrait of two great American figures and the era they shaped through words and deeds.