Just a quick note: if you saw Lincoln this weekend, as I did, and liked it pretty well, especially all the Congress-yelling, but would have liked more focus on the emotional and political complexities of the situation and less of the string section, as I did, The Judges of the Secret Court might be the book you should read next.
It’s one of the greatest Civil War novels I’ve ever read. The focus is the brothers Booth. When I first read it last year, I quoted from it a lot, and then said it is “as ugly as you might think a book about John Wilkes Booth and Lincoln’s assassination and the chaotic aftermath of Washington DC and the South after the Civil War would be. It is relentless, and painful, and it is beautiful. Read it immediately.”
You might also, if you’re more of a speculative fiction sort, and prefer Senatorial-type yelling to Congressional, read The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln. Carter begins from a seductively simple question—what if President Lincoln had survived his assassination attempt in 1865? The answer: the various factions who detested him would have put him on trial for multiple offenses, including the charge that he attempted to permanently take over the government with the help of the military. It is well-told from the perspectives of the people defending the President in front of the Senate, with the bulk of the book devoted to Abigail, a young black woman who dreams of being a lawyer. I was stuck on a train for three hours with this book and it was a delightful three hours indeed.