Off Campus: Appeals to voters sum up philosophical split between leaders
Published October 15, 2012
By PARKER B. ALBEE JR.
PORTLAND - When I was a boy in the early 1950s, my parents gave me a book on Abraham Lincoln. It was a picture book, a compilation of all the known photographs of our great president.
Captivated as I was with the vivid illustrations that abounded from cover to cover, the book's most memorable part would prove to be a few words found in its introduction. Here the author, Stefan Lorant, explained his book's genesis.
Lorant, a German journalist in the 1920s and an opponent of Adolf Hitler, had been quickly thrown into a concentration camp in 1933 when Hitler came to power. It was thus behind prison walls, Lorant explained in his introduction, that "I made my acquaintance with Abraham Lincoln" when "I happened to pick an old volume containing (his) speeches" from a laundry basket full of books being passed from cell to cell.
"A prison cell," Lorant continued, "is just the right place to get the impact of Lincoln's philosophy and be lured under his spell."
These words struck me. That stark, contrasting image between Hitler's cell and Lincoln's words would ever linger in my mind, a disjunction providing both an impetus and a framework for a lifelong study of each man's life and political philosophy.
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