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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
The life and tragedy of one of the greatest of all American presidents - by the Booker prize-winning Australian novelist.
Most people know little more about the US President Abraham Lincoln than how he met his end - assassinated in a theatre box by a gunman. But as Thomas Keneally, Booker prize-winning novelist for Schindler's Ark, shows in this short, but enthralling life that Lincoln's origins, his early life, his self-taught lawyer's career and how he became a politician and ultimately US president, is an epitome of the American dream. If Lincoln - without any benefits of class, wealth or contacts - could reach the pinnacle of US life then so might anyone else.
Thomas Keneally, of Irish extraction, was brought up in Australia and still lives in Sydney. His novels include The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Confederates (which first led him to study nineteenth century American history). Schindler's Ark was later turned into a remarkable a film by Steven Spielberg under the title Schindler's List.