Abraham Lincoln is a young
trial lawyer who is traveling the circuit in remote parts
of Illinois. He is one of the several lawyers and a judge
who set up in distance towns to deliver justice in all sorts
of legal cases. In Alton, there is unrest regarding slavery,
but there has also been a murder upon a steamboat that has
just come up the Mississippi River. The trial of an artist
who was aboard the ship, and accused as the killer is set
to take place in Alton.
good friend, Joshua Speed was on the same steamboat, which
belongs to his father, Judge Speed. The journey was marked
by a rigged card game, too much alcohol, and a violent confrontation
which may or may not have led to the murder of John W. Jones,
of Nashville. Speed becomes involved, as does his sister,
Martha, in helping Lincoln to clear the name of the artist,
book took me back in time so fully that I felt as though I
was an individual in the background, watching and listening,
immersed in every scene. Putnam is a master storyteller, and
his ability to draw out the essence of each character is superb.
I reveled in finding a new understanding of who Lincoln was
as a young man, and how his viewpoints on slavery may have
been influenced by events of the time.
honest about the harsh and brutal conditions of life in the
late 1830’s, I also found myself oddly yearning for
a simpler time, yet in the next breath, realizing that it
wasn’t much simpler after all. The legal system and
politics have always been fraught with contention, lies, and
corruption. Yet Lincoln strove to rise above it, and this
work of fiction added another dimension to my understanding
of who Lincoln was and how he came to be the man he was. Putnam
paints a vivid picture with words, bringing the past to life
as if in front of my very eyes.
however, remains the heart of the book, and it is carefully
woven. Little by little the threads throughout the story come
together to tell a tale that is both expected and surprising
From The Earth” is one of the best books I have read
in a long time. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
If you are either a mystery buff or a history buff, this book
is for you. If you happen to be both, I’m certain you
will be captivated by its raw and honest look at this part
of American history and by the beauty of the language used
to portray the people, both real and imaginary.