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The Spark Travels to the Harrisburg Book Festival for an Evening with Steve Inskeep

WITF and Midtown Scholar Bookstore have partnered to welcome NPR host Steve Inskeep to a special episode of The Spark, recorded at the Harrisburg Book Festival. Join us for a conversation and signing on his new book, Differ We Must: How Lincoln Succeeded in a Divided America.

October 18 • 6pm – 7pm
Midtown Scholar Bookstore

1302 North Third Street, Harrisburg

This event is free and open to the public. While registration is not required, we would appreciate an RSVP. Seating is first come, first serve. To enter the signing line, you must purchase your copy of Differ We Must from the Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

Buy the Book


About the Book

A compelling and nuanced exploration of Abraham Lincoln’s political acumen, illuminating a great politician’s strategy in a country divided—and lessons for our own disorderly present.

In 1855, with the United States at odds over slavery, the lawyer Abraham Lincoln wrote a note to his best friend, the son of a Kentucky slaveowner. Lincoln rebuked his friend for failing to oppose slavery. But he added: “If for this you and I must differ, differ we must,” and said they would be friends forever.

Throughout his life and political career, Lincoln often agreed to disagree. Democracy demanded it, since even an adversary had a vote. The man who went on to become America’s sixteenth president has assumed many roles in our historical consciousness, but most notable is that he was, unapologetically, a politician. And as Steve Inskeep argues, it was because he was willing to engage in politics—meeting with critics, sometimes working with them and other times outwitting them—that he was able to lead a social revolution.

In Differ We Must, Inskeep illuminates Lincoln’s life through sixteen encounters, some well-known, some obscure, but all imbued with new significance here. Each interaction was with a person who differed from Lincoln, and in each someone wanted something from the other.

While Lincoln didn’t always change his critics’ beliefs — many went to war against him — he did learn how to make his beliefs actionable. He told jokes, relied on sarcasm, and often made fun of himself, but behind the banter was a distinguished storyteller who chose what to say and what to withhold. He knew his limitations and, as history came to prove, he knew how to prioritize. Many of his greatest acts came about through his engagement with people who disagreed with him. In these meetings, Lincoln became the Lincoln we know.

In Differ We Must, Inskeep expands our understanding of a politician who held strong to his moral compass while navigating between corrosive political factions, one who began his career in the minority party and not only won the majority but succeeded in uniting a nation.

About Steve Inskeep

Steve Inskeep is a cohost of NPR’s Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio program in the United States, and of NPR’s Up First, one of the nation’s most popular podcasts. His reporting has taken him across the United States, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, Pakistan, and China. His search for the full story behind the news has led him to history; he is the author of Instant City, Jacksonland, and Imperfect Union.

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