BLOOMINGTON — Five years after telling the story of Abraham Lincoln's ascent from lawyer to politician, Guy Fraker wants readers to see what he saw while writing it.
"I traveled those 14 counties (of the 8th Judicial Circuit, where Lincoln practiced), including a lot of the roads Lincoln used,” said Fraker of writing his first book, "Lincoln's Ladder to the Presidency." "I decided to help people get on those roads, enjoy the landscape and see the story of Lincoln up close.”
The result is Fraker's new book, "Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: A Guide to Lincoln's Eighth Judicial Circuit," out this fall.
Like his first book, "Looking for Lincoln in Illinois" is available through Southern Illinois University Press, but the books are otherwise very different, said Fraker, of Bloomington. In fact, he hopes readers who enjoy one will seek out the other.
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"I would think anybody who gets this book would be interested in learning more about the subject matter," Fraker said, "and people who have read the first book will be interested in seeing these pictures and places.”
The new book includes 94 photos of the circuit as well as maps and directions to help readers re-create Lincoln's travels. Though a full trip around the circuit is hundreds of miles long, the book breaks it down into bite-sized chunks.
“None of the roads are highways. They’re all back roads, and about two-thirds of them are the same roads Lincoln used," said Fraker. "There’s a road from Urbana to Danville that’s never been paved, and you can almost feel the presence of Lincoln.”
Fraker, a retired attorney, is traveling the state to promote the book, including a lecture 7 p.m. Tuesday at the McLean County Museum of History in downtown Bloomington.
“Central Illinois is not only historical because of its impact on Lincoln, but it’s a very interesting place we should enjoy more," he said. "These roads take you to interesting places and scenes you wouldn't ordinarily see.”
Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh