Customer Reviews for

The Women In Lincoln's Life

Average Rating 2.5
( 5 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2012

    Confusing

    It does give a lot of information, but it gets really confusing trying to keep up with everything and kind of just drags on.

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  • Posted April 29, 2010

    Highly Provocative

    This book casts a wide net over sources to challenge an old idea with startling new insights. After years of research the author has discovered more information about Lincoln's first love, Ann Rutledge, than has previously been known. Winkler's work, combined with earlier studies by Douglas Wilson and John Simon, establishes beyond a shadow of a doubt the Lincoln-Rutledge romance and engagement. Also, Winkler's extensive material on the other women in Lincoln's life illuminates what had previously been puzzling to many scholars. The book is well-written, highly provocative, and intriguing and thought-provoking.

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Mary Lincoln bashing at its best

    I gave this one star because it was required for this review. It is not worth the paper it is printed on. This book is a character assassination of Mary Lincoln, a woman who never did the author any harm. Mr. Winkler draws heavily on the notes and conclusions of William Herndon, Lincoln's alcoholic law partner who was never invited to the Lincoln home. If he wasn't there, how could he know what went on in private between man and wife? For that matter, how can anyone know what happens between any man and his wife in the privacy of their own home?

    However, the lack of concrete evidence doesn't seem to hinder Mr. Winkler. He elaborates in detail anything that supports his theory that Lincoln never wished to marry Mary Todd, but glosses over the inscription in her wedding ring "Love is Eternal." Why would a man who was only marrying a woman to preserve his honor bother with this inscription?

    In presenting his views on their White House years, he digs up every piece of dirt possible without any attempt at a balanced point of view. He writes of Mary's expensive shopping trips to furnish the White House without noting the deplorable living conditions existing there upon their arrival. As for her appreciation of fine things, she was raised in gentility, but married a man for love even though he was not her social and economic equal. What polish he had, she gave him. She was a woman who probably had a depressive disorder that today would be treatable. So without any benefits of modern medicine, she endured the deaths of two sons, her beloved husband shot while sitting next to her holding her hand, and the death of another son. Not to mention the blame of both sides in the war: the North because she came from the South and the South because she held abolitionist views and was married to the enemy. Finally, the one child she had left had her put on trial to have her declared insane. Maybe his motives were pure, but to her it was a betrayal by the one loved one left to her.

    But I skipped over the Ann Rutledge chapters. Here he draws on family genealogy research from what I can tell. Having done genealogical research myself, I know the inherent pitfalls of relying on people's recollections of events that transpired decades in the past. One should always stipulate that these reminiscences are just that and not actual fact.

    Also in these early chapters, Mr. Winkler uses the term "Scotch-Irish." While it is a commonly used term for the descendants of Scots who migrated to North America, Scots-Irish is the PC term as "Scotch" is considered offensive in Scotland. I should also note that it is nasty to refer to someone with mental deficiencies (as he refers to Tad Lincoln) as a "retard."

    There are many well-researched books out there on Lincoln and his wife. Please, read them and pass this one by. Or, at least, read them first. Ruth Painter Randall spent many years researching her "Mary Lincoln: Biography of a Marriage." Her husband is also a leading authority on Abraham Lincoln. Catherine Clinton's "Mrs. Lincoln" published in January 2009 is also an excellent alternative.

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  • Posted March 8, 2009

    William Herndon Reincarnated

    I gave this one star because it was required for this review. It is not worth the paper it is printed on. This book as a character assassination of Mary Lincoln, a woman who never did the author any harm. Mr. Winkler draws heavily on the notes and conclusions of William Herndon, Lincoln's alcoholic law partner who was never invited to the Lincoln home. If he wasn't there, how could he know what went on in private between man and wife? For that matter, how can anyone know what happens between any man and his wife in the privacy of their own home?

    However, the lack of concrete evidence doesn't seem to hinder Mr. Winkler. He elaborates in detail anything that supports his theory that Lincoln never wished to marry Mary Todd, but glosses over the inscription in her wedding ring "Love is Eternal." Why would a man who was only marrying a woman to preserve his honor bother with this inscription?

    In presenting his views on their White House years, he digs up every piece of dirt possible without any attempt at a balanced point of view. He writes of Mary's expensive shopping trips to furnish the White House without noting the deplorable living conditions existing there upon their arrival. As for her appreciation of fine things, she was raised in gentility, but married a man for love even though he was not her social and economic equal. What polish he had, she gave him. She was a woman who probably had a depressive disorder that today would be treatable. So without any benefits of modern medicine, she endured the deaths of two sons, her beloved husband shot while sitting next to her holding her hand, and the death of another son. Not to mention the blame of both sides in the war: the North because she came from the South and the South because she held abolitionist views and was married to the enemy. Finally, the one child she had left had her put on trial to have her declared insane. Maybe his motives were pure, but to her it was a betrayal by the one loved one left to her.

    But I skipped over the Ann Rutledge chapters. Here he draws on family genealogy research from what I can tell. Having done genealogical research myself, I know the inherent pitfalls of relying on people's recollections of events that transpired decades in the past. One should always stipulate that these reminiscences are just that and not actual fact.

    Also in these early chapters, Mr. Winkler uses the term "Scotch-Irish." While it is a commonly used term for the descendants of Scots who migrated to North America, Scots-Irish is the PC term as "Scotch" is considered offensive in Scotland. I should also note that it is nasty to refer to someone with mental deficiencies (as he refers to Tad Lincoln) as a "retard."

    There are many well-researched books out there on Lincoln and his wife. Please, read them and pass this one by. Or, at least, read them first. Ruth Painter Randall spent many years researching her "Mary Lincoln: Biography of a Marriage." Her husband is also a leading authority on Abraham Lincoln. I haven't read the latest books published in January of 2009, but I will in a hurry if only to wipe the bad taste of this book out of my mouth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2002

    The 'WOMAN' in Lincon's Life

    Although this book is called The Women in Lincoln's life, the actual story highlights one woman above all the others. That being Ann Rutledge. Perhaps due to a family conection, the story places Rutledge in high favor. Mary Todd Lincoln is portrayed very poorly in this book. I have read other books that have depicted her 'bad side', but I have never read anything that continually puts her down as this book does. I have to say I was rather disappointed.

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