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Julian Sher’s The North Star Canada And the Civil War Plots Against Lincoln is a well-researched, detailed, and nuanced book about the prominent personalities, events, and environmental factors that led up to Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The book also offers a controversial viewpoint on Lincoln’s and Canada’s roles in the Civil War. Despite having a reputation as the “Great Emancipator,” Lincoln is said to share his countrymen’s prejudices against Blacks. In addition, Canada’s involvement in the American Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln is revealed to be in direct opposition to its claims of being on the “good side” of the conflict and helping runaway slaves.
The book has a cast of fascinating characters from varied racial, social, religious, and political backgrounds. One of its main characters is a farm girl who fought in the Civil War as a Union soldier while posing as a man; another is a young Black man who becomes the first Black doctor to be born in Canada and is the son of parents who fled from slave owners and racists in Alabama; and a third is a well-known and wealthy aristocrat who hosted and provided funding for Confederate Secret Service leaders in his home in Canada.
The author does an excellent job of describing the book’s protagonists by cleverly incorporating their remarks and other people’s comments on them throughout the story. We also get a detailed description of historical settlements and how individuals in the Civil War era lived their daily lives, such as the Coloured People of Canada, who are reported to manage mills, companies, farms, and a school that was so good that White parents endeavored to enroll their children there. Furthermore, the book’s multiple, alternate viewpoints provide a comprehensive account of the events. It was intriguing to switch between the sides that were celebrating Lincoln’s death and others who were grieving his demise.
However, some readers might not find the book interesting since it appears to rush over too many persons and events in some portions. Whilst it offers some intriguing material, it would be more appealing if its content were more organized and coherent.
Julian Sher’s book presents a clear image of how far the world has come since people of color were heavily discriminated against, women were forbidden from certain jobs, people were publicly executed, and humankind condoned other undesirable practices. Every deep thinker who reads the book will be motivated to be more tolerant, compassionate, and self-aware when they consider the consequences of neglecting these values. History aficionados, human rights activists, and readers interested in learning the unvarnished realities of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War will be rewarded handsomely for reading the book.
Reviewed by: Foluso Falaye
Author: Julian Sher
Star count: 4/5
Page count: 480 pages
Publish Date: April 25, 2023
Buy This Book: Bookshop.org
Issue: April 2023