Lincoln in the Basement Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Lincoln in the Basement

Imagine an 1862 White House where President and Mrs. Lincoln have been kidnapped and successfully replaced with look-alikes. In Cowling's alternate universe, Secretary of War Edward Stanton is disgusted by Lincoln's military strategy and believes that the only way to end the war quickly is to put General Burnsides in charge of the Army of the Potomac instead of Lincoln's choice of General McClellan. Stanton arranges for the President and Mrs. Lincoln to be hidden in the White House basement and replaced with doppelgangers who have been thoroughly trained on the habits and mannerisms of the couple they're impersonating.
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At first, the look-alike imposters are thrilled to be rescued from their ordinary lives and given such an important acting job; however, they soon tire of having to pretend for so many years and hope that the War Between the States is over soon so they can get on with their lives. The Lincolns' son Tad knows that this couple isn't his real mom and dad, but is told that this is a prank with which he needs to cooperate. Soon Tad comes to care about the imposters almost as much as his parents.

Stanton is able to get away with the kidnapping for as long as he does because other politicians don't care enough to explore the reasons why the President acts slightly different, while members of the domestic staff in the White House are too scared to ask any questions. Meanwhile, the President and Mrs. Lincoln are unable to escape from the basement and spend their days reading, talking, eating, worrying about the country and planning to escape at the first possible opportunity.
The review of this Book prepared by Lisa Ciurro

Chapter Analysis of Lincoln in the Basement

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 30% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   american civil war period War Thriller    -   Yes Specific to    -   Civil War Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   politician/elected ruler Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Jerry Cowling Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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