O Captain, My Captain: Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War

O Captain, My Captain: Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War
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Release Date
April 02, 2019
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Dramatic, lyrical, and beautifully illustrated, O Captain, My Captain tells the story of one of America’s greatest poets and how he was inspired by one of America’s greatest presidents. Whitman and Lincoln shared the national stage in Washington, DC, during the Civil War. Though the two men never met, Whitman would often see Lincoln’s carriage on the road. The president was never far from the poet’s mind, and Lincoln’s “grace under pressure” was something Whitman returned to again and again in his poetry. Whitman witnessed Lincoln’s second inauguration and mourned along with America as Lincoln’s funeral train wound its way across the landscape to his final resting place. The book includes the poem “O Captain! My Captain!” and an excerpt from “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” brief bios of Lincoln and Whitman, a timeline of Civil War events, endnotes, and a bibliography.

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O CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN teaches us more about Walt Whitman's life and his time spent during the Civil War. To him, Lincoln was the president the US needed with all of the slavery and corruption spreading through the streets. He even caught glimpses of the president here and there and it brought joy to his heart. However, he could see that war was taking a toll on Lincoln as much as the soldiers.

When his brother gets injured, Walt travels to the camp he's residing in to visit. He could never raise a sword or a gun to another person, yet he found himself lingering among the wounded. Even though there wasn't much he could do, he couldn't leave them. So, he visited the wounded and stood at their side, giving them company.

"O Captain, My Captain" has always been one of my favorite poems, but after learning about it's relevance to Abraham Lincoln gives it a whole new meaning. I must admit that after reading this book and then reading the poem in the back of the book, tears sprung to my eyes to stream down my face. Abraham was Walt's captain and even though the civil war was won, his captain had been killed. O CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN takes us into the Civil War through the eyes of a poet who loves each man and woman equally and it will touch your heart.

Final Verdict: I would recommend this to fans of history, the Civil War era, war, Abraham Lincoln, and poetry.
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