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Cosmic Book Reviews
from the February 2008 Star Beacon
Abraham Lincoln's psychic life depicted in new book
Review by Ann Ulrich Miller
Life of Abraham Lincoln,
by Susan B. Martinez, Ph.D.
The Career Press,
Inc., Franklin Lakes, N.Y., 2007.
There’s more than 6,000 books written about our 16th president,
Abraham Lincoln, one of our country’s greatest leaders. The Psychic Life of
Abraham Lincoln, by Susan B. Martinez, Ph.D., goes beyond the usual
biographical topics by exploring Lincoln’s beliefs and his relationship with
higher powers. The question of Lincoln’s religious beliefs was a widely
debated topic that has never been fully understood, but in this book Dr.
Martinez presents evidence that Lincoln did, in fact, practice Spiritualism.
Often described as a “free thinker,” we learn through this book that Lincoln
did believe in a structured religion, but it just wasn’t popular or accepted.
Biographers would write that it was Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, who was
the Spiritualist in the family, and that the president only went along to
humor his wife. However, that is not the picture presented here by Dr.
Martinez’s careful research.
The Psychic Life of Abraham Lincoln talks about the president’s mystical
practices and occurrences, including his prophetic dreams and psychic powers,
his consultation with oracles, attending séances with his wife, and his belief
that he was able to enter altered states of consciousness.
It was fascinating getting to know this man through this book. I saw a side of
Abraham Lincoln that was never taught in grade school, and I felt a
camaraderie of sorts with him and his incredible wit. Often depicted as a
morbid, sad individual because of all the heartache he endured in his life,
Abe was actually a comic with his cracks and outbursts. It must have been a
riot being in the White House while he occupied office.
The author, Martinez, is an independent scholar, journalist and activist. She
earned her doctorate in anthropology at Columbia University and specialized in
psycholinguistics. This bit of information helped me understand why there
seemed to be a “challenging word” on almost every page of the book. It was
almost as though the author went out of her way to find the most obscure words
to include in her work. But it was fun to read the highlighted boxes of
quotations running throughout the book. I read the entire book out loud to my
husband, and found myself stumbling repeatedly over words I couldn’t
pronounce. My husband would interrupt, saying, “What in the heck does that
mean?” I soon had the feeling that here was an author trying to impress upon
the reader her intellectual prowess through forcing all these strange words.
If it had been any other book, I might have tossed it aside after the first
chapter. But Martinez did an excellent job bringing “The Trimmer” to life in
my world, so I was willing to excuse all the annoying verbage.
A lot of work went into The Psychic Life of Abraham Lincoln — at the back of
the book is a treasure of “notes” and references. From both a metaphysical and
historical perspective, I recommend the book.
Miller is the publisher of The Star Beacon.
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