Father Abraham: Lincoln and His Sons

Overview

Abraham Lincoln was devoted to his country—and to his family. President Lincoln called America a house divided, but he struggled to keep his own home united. It would prove to be an impossible task. Sickness, loss, and family tensions overwhelmed Abraham, Mary, and their four sons. Opening up the Lincoln family album, noted Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer highlights the family's heartaches and happiness. Illustrated with archival photographs and backed by extensive primary source material, this compelling NCTE...

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Overview

Abraham Lincoln was devoted to his country—and to his family. President Lincoln called America a house divided, but he struggled to keep his own home united. It would prove to be an impossible task. Sickness, loss, and family tensions overwhelmed Abraham, Mary, and their four sons. Opening up the Lincoln family album, noted Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer highlights the family's heartaches and happiness. Illustrated with archival photographs and backed by extensive primary source material, this compelling NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor Book illuminates the private lives of four generations of a prominent American family.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Ruth Cox Clark
Holzer, author of over thirty books on Lincoln and the Civil War, highlights the chaotic home life of the laid-back Lincoln and the impact his frequent absences had on his children and his wife, Mary. Left alone with the rambunctious boys, in often less-than-desirable accommodations prior to the White House, Mary was known for her hysterical outbursts and fears for her boys' safety, which escalated after four-year-old Eddie's death. Lincoln grieved deeply for his son, but took the antics of his other boys in stride, allowing them to run amok, even into presidential meetings and through his law offices. He had a loving relationship with Willie and Tad, but appeared to be critical of the eldest Robert, who later distanced himself from his family. Robert was the only son to survive as Willie died while Lincoln was president and Tad died as a teenager. Holzer deftly lays bare the tragedies of the Lincolns. The depth of research for this sad but fascinating family biography is evident, with a lengthy bibliography and end notes. The superb selection of period photographs and art reproductions, with explanatory captions, bring to life the people and the time period. Although rich in detail, Holzer enlivens the text with interesting incidents, such as Mary hosting seances in the White House after Willie's death. This is a well-crafted, intimate look into the Lincoln family. Reviewer: Ruth Cox Clark, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—Holzer offers a captivating peek into the lives of Lincoln and his sons: Robert, Eddie, Willie, and Tad. Lincoln's career in law and politics, his election as the 16th president, and his years in the White House during the Civil War form the basis of this book, but it is his family life that is its nucleus. Lincoln and his wife, Mary, adored their four boys and indulged their spirited ways, often to the chagrin of neighbors and Lincoln's law clients. It is a story of tragedy. Eddie died at age four and Willie died while the family lived in the White House. Tad died as a teenager, after his father's death. Robert, the only child to live to adulthood, attended Harvard College, served on Grant's staff at the end of the Civil War, was a successful lawyer in Chicago, and served in various government positions including minister to Great Britain. It was during this posting that Robert's son, Abraham Lincoln II, died. There are no living Lincoln descendants today. The captioned black-and-white illustrations and reproductions that are lavishly spread throughout the book are excellent. A lengthy bibliography and meticulous notes round out this marvelous volume. A unique book, this is a must-have for all libraries.—Patricia Ann Owens, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges
Kirkus Reviews

Trailing the stampede of Lincoln-bicentennial studies, this profile of "the clan that might have become America's royal family but instead became America's cursed family" offers both a wagonload of fascinating period photos and a case study in domestic tragedy and dysfunction. Leading Lincoln scholar Holzer portrays his presidential paterfamilias as an absentee saint—away on business for much of his four sons' formative years but ever loving and gentle with his notably histrionic wife and an indulgent pushover who let his lads run hog wild. Conversely, though devastated by 3-year-old Eddie's death in 1850 and 11-year-old Willie's in 1862, his relations with Robert (the eldest and the only child to live past his teens, presented here as thoroughly unlikable) were distant at best. If the author sometimes hobbles his narrative with fussy details, he also tucks in such intimate touches as samples of homely verse from both parents and children and finishes off with quick looks at all of the direct descendants. A natural companion for Candace Fleming's fineThe Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary(2008). (endnotes, adult-level bibliography) (Biography. 11-14)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590783030
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2011
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,402,540
  • Age range: 11 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 1060L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Harold Holzer, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, served as chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation. He is the author, co-author, or editor of 35 books on Lincoln and the Civil War era. He has won many research and writing awards, most recently the National Humanities Medal in 2008. Holzer is a former journalist, and political and government press secretary.

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