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On the eve of his 52nd birthday, February 11 1861, the President Elect of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, walked onto a train the first step of his journey to the White House and his rendezvous with destiny. But as the train began to carry Lincoln toward Washington, it was far from certain what he would find they're bankrupt and rudderless.

The government was on the verge of collapse. To make matters worse, reliable intelligence confirmed a conspiracy to assassinate him as he passed through Baltimore. It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of the Republic hung in the balance. How did Lincoln survive this grueling Odyssey to become the president we know from the history books?

The new book, "Lincoln On The Verge"  tells the story of a leader discovering his own strength, improvising brilliantly and seeing his country up close during these pivotal 13 days. Ted Widmer is distinguished lecturer at McCauley Honors College CUNY. In addition to his teaching, he writes actively about American history for the New York Times, The New Yorker and The Washington Post. 

John T. Shaw has covered Congress for Market News International for nearly twenty-five years, and has also been a contributing writer for the Washington Diplomat and has been a guest on PBS NewsHour and C-SPAN.

In "Rising Star, Setting Sun," John T. Shaw focuses on the intense ten-week transition between JFK’s electoral victory and his inauguration on January 20, 1961. After winning the presidency by a razor-thin victory on November 8, 1960 over Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s former vice president, John F. Kennedy became the thirty-fifth president of the United States. But beneath the stately veneers of both Ike and JFK, there was a complex and consequential rivalry.