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Lincoln lived ...
Lincoln lived at the Soldiers' Home for a quarter of his presidency, and for nearly half of the critical year of 1862, but most Americans (including many scholars) have not heard of the place. Indeed, this is the first volume to specifically connect this early "summer White House" to key wartime developments, including the Emancipation Proclamation, the firing of McClellan, the evolution of Lincoln's "Father Abraham" image, the election of 1864, and the assassination conspiracy. Through a series of striking vignettes, the reader discovers a more accessible Lincoln, demonstrating what one visitor to the Soldiers' Home described as his remarkable "elasticity of spirits.
At his secluded cottage, the president complained to his closest aides, recited poetry to his friends, reconnected with his wife and family, conducted secret meetings with his political enemies, and narrowly avoided assassination attempts. Perhaps most important, he forged key friendships that helped renew his flagging spirits. The cottage became a refuge from the pressures of the White House, a place of tranquility where Lincoln could refresh his mind.
Based on research in rarely tapped sources, especially the letters and memoirs of people who lived orworked at the Soldiers' Home, Lincoln's Sanctuary offers the unexpected - a completely fresh view of Abraham Lincoln - through the window of a place that helped shape his presidency.
"A marvelous book, brimming with new information about the public and private lives of the Civil War president. The author tells a compelling story, based on thorough and impeccable research."—Michael F. Bishop, Washington Post Book World
"Pinsker's important and fascinating book tells for the first time the story of Lincoln's summer White House, where so many of the major decisions of the Civil War were made. His research has been indefatigable, and Pinsker's findings will be new even to Lincoln specialists."—David Herbert Donald, Harvard University, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lincoln
"Exhaustively researched, elegantly written.... A treasure that no Lincoln or Civil War student can afford to overlook. It offers not only a fine history of the house itself, but also a startling view of Lincoln's little-known life as a commuter president.... Lincoln's Sanctuary compels us to reconsider historic events that we have long assumed unfolded at the White House. Pinsker's prodigious accomplishment demands that we redefine Lincoln's milieu. Thanks to this wholly original work, we may never be able to look at the Lincoln presidency in quite the same way."—Civil War Times Illustrated
"An uncommonly original look at Lincoln during the war years.... Through Pinsker's probing inquiry into sources heretofore surprisingly underused, the ever elusive private Lincoln comes into new light. A book for our time and for all libraries."—Library Journal
"Pinsker not only shows all of Lincoln's faces, but he also does an impressive job of connecting the emotional side of the president to his political experience. By showing the complex interplay of Lincoln's private and public lives, Pinkser has beautifully recreated the inner life of the Soldiers' Home." —Peter S. Carmichael, University of California at Greensboro, Civil War History
"Matthew Pinsker's Lincoln's Sanctuary is an outstanding contribution to our understanding of the sixteenth president. Not only does it deepen our knowledge of Lincoln and of the Soldiers' Home, the retreat where he tried to relax; this readable volume offers new insights into wartime Washington and the fighting of the Civil War."—Jean H. Baker, Goucher College, author of Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography
"This is an impressive work by Pinsker. It is remarkably well-researched, and he writes with clarity and grace. Pinsker shows us that the Soldiers' Home was a 'personal center' for Lincoln, and that the place had a special 'spirit' in his story as President. That 'spirit' is, of course, a family story, and Pinsker tells it well."—David W. Blight, Yale University, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory
"A welcome addition to the ever-growing bibliography of Lincoln studies."—Washington Times
|Introduction: "I see the President"||1|
|Ch. 1||"Gone to the country"||21|
|Ch. 2||"Am I to have no rest?"||37|
|Ch. 3||"Forever free"||54|
|Ch. 4||"Capt. D and his company"||72|
|Ch. 5||"Mother very slightly hurt"||93|
|Ch. 6||"In fine whack"||108|
|Ch. 7||"Present at Fort Stevens"||127|
|Ch. 8||"Damned in Time & in Eternity"||146|
|Ch. 9||"Whatever is, is right"||163|
|Conclusion: "There is something else there"||183|
|Chronology: Lincoln at the Soldiers' Home||193|