Wednesday, April 18, 2012

book review: "Lincoln's Dreams" by Connie Willis

Connie Willis

While doing research on Abraham Lincoln and his prophetic dreams, Jeff meets Annie, herself experiencing the Civil War in sleep, and tries to help her find meaning to her dreams.

I know next to nothing about the American Civil War, but it did not hinder me from enjoying Connie Willis' "Lincoln's Dreams". Annie's experience was gripping, and the story relevant.

We are conditioned to look up to our heroes on their pedestals, but we need to remember that they were human too. Even though they inspire us by their courage and with their triumphs, they also suffered loss and failure.

Jeff, turning down a job opportunity on studying the effects of the Vietnam War, says, "I haven't figured out the long-term effects of the Civil War yet." It seems that mankind has not even recovered from one war before he becomes involved in another. In the last century alone, we had World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, with Afghanistan at the start of this century. Does no one understand that war does not solve anything? It is a waste of human lives and material resources. War does not resolve conflict, it only postpones it until the "losing" side musters strength to fight again. Which is a lesson mankind, sadly, seems slow to learn.


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