Lincoln's Other White House: The Untold Story of the Man and His Presidencyby Elizabeth Brownstein
On June 13, 1862, the Lincolns moved what was left of their family three miles north of the chaotic White House for the summer. Their destination, tradition holds, was a gracious Gothic Revival cottage on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home, the nation's first refuge for old and disabled veterans. On a lush, cool hill overlooking the squalid capital, the Soldiers' Home… See more details below
On June 13, 1862, the Lincolns moved what was left of their family three miles north of the chaotic White House for the summer. Their destination, tradition holds, was a gracious Gothic Revival cottage on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home, the nation's first refuge for old and disabled veterans. On a lush, cool hill overlooking the squalid capital, the Soldiers' Home promised the Lincolns an escape from the "city of stink," where they hoped to recover from the death of their favorite son, Willie, the previous winter.
But the Soldiers' Home soon proved anything but restful. Troublesome generals, contentious cabinet members, touchy diplomats, politicians of all persuasions, old friends, and even curious strangers found their way there at all hours of the day and night.
Sometimes the Soldiers' Home was so close to the front lines, the Lincolns could hear cannon fire. Yet everyone but Lincoln feared how vulnerable he was in such a secluded place. He chose to spend an astonishing quarter of his presidency there, including the time he spent putting the finishing touches on the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
But until the National Trust for Historic Preservation began restoration of the cottage, little had been done to explore this missing link in Lincoln's life. For one hundred and forty years, this "legitimate cradle of liberty" remained the most important unknown presidential site in the country.
Elizabeth Smith Brownstein fills in a critical gap. Using diaries, letters, and eyewitness accounts of life at the Soldiers' Home, she provides unusual perspectives on Lincoln's relationships with important members of his wartime inner circle and explores his paradoxical fascination with weaponry. Through the eyes of the soldiers who guarded him at the Soldiers' Home, she traces the evolution of Lincoln's image as "Father Abraham" and paints a touching picture of the Lincoln marriage. She explains why the Civil War poets and storytellers Lincoln loved played such a critical part during a traumatic period in American history. Lincoln's Other White House is a vivid evocation of a turbulent era, and a distinctive, intimate portrait of our most revered but still elusive president.
- Turner Publishing Company
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)
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What People are saying about this
-- Jean Baker, Professor of History at Goucher College
"Only on occasion does the unceasing flow of new Lincoln titles yield a book of fresh insight and graceful prose. Lincoln's Other White House has that rare distinction. Elizabeth Brownstein vividly captures life at the Soldiers’ Home, where the Lincolns found relief from wartime and White House stress. More than an account of their summer residence, this book also offers lively vignettes and thoughtful assessments of the Union generals, cabinet offices, politicians, and friends who visited him there."
--Cullom Davis, Editor, Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln
"This vivid new book will finally help the Soldier's Home find its rightful place in the epic of Lincoln's life alongside the Kentucky log cabin in which he was born, the house in Springfield, Illinois that symbolized his rise from poverty, and the Executive Mansion from which he directed the war that kept the country from coming apart."
--Geoffrey C. Ward, author of The Civil War: An Illustrated History
"This valuable, enjoyable, and unusual book not only makes known the importance of the Soldiers’ Home in the Lincoln story, but also is loaded with anecdotes, characters, poems, episodes, parodies by humorists, facts that one did not know. It ranges widely in a lively presentation of the domestic Lincoln, and of the place he spent 13 months of his presidency. I read it with profit and pleasure and recommend it highly."
--William Lee Miller, author of Lincoln's Virtues: An Ethical Biography
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