Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography

Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography

4.4 15
by Jean Harvey Baker
     
 

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"A complex and moving character study of a woman tragically out of step with her time and place."—Chicago Tribune
This definitive biography of Mary Todd Lincoln beautifully conveys her tumultuous life and times. A privileged daughter of the proud clan that founded Lexington, Kentucky, Mary fell into a stormy romance with the raw Illinois attorney Abraham

Overview

"A complex and moving character study of a woman tragically out of step with her time and place."—Chicago Tribune
This definitive biography of Mary Todd Lincoln beautifully conveys her tumultuous life and times. A privileged daughter of the proud clan that founded Lexington, Kentucky, Mary fell into a stormy romance with the raw Illinois attorney Abraham Lincoln. For twenty-five years the Lincolns forged opposing temperaments into a tolerant, loving marriage. Even as the nation suffered secession and civil war, Mary experienced the tragedies of losing three of her four children and then her husband. An insanity trial orchestrated by her surviving son led to her confinement in an asylum. Mary Todd Lincoln is still often portrayed in one dimension, as the stereotype of the best-hated faults of all women. Here her life is restored for us whole.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
“A striking success... the account of the White House years is absorbing, the account of Mary Lincoln's life as a widow utterly compelling.”
David Herbert Donald
“This exciting and important book is a major contribution to Lincolniana. Absorbing and convincing, this is one of the few books that deserve to be called definitive.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393333039
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
10/17/2008
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
178,964
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Jean Harvey Baker is the author of many books on nineteenth-century American history. She is a professor of history at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Mary Todd Lincoln 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic account on the life of Mary Todd Lincoln. While at times I rolled my eyes at her antics, most of the book made me feel very, very sorry for her. She was called insane by her only surviving child and much of the country after she was forced to watch 3 of her 4 beloved children die horrible deaths, and witnessing her husband, whom she idolized, being shot in the head. She suffered alone for many years, called a "crazy lady" by acquaintences for believing in spiritualism as a way to contact her long lost loved ones, and suffered from many ailments. Although she was sometimes pushy and self-absorbed, she handled her losses with a strength that I don't think I could muster. The only problem I had with the book was the abrupt ending. Mrs. Lincoln died literally right at the end of the book, and I was left thinking surely there must be more...it was like falling off of a cliff. A must read, though, for those interested not only in Mary and Abraham Lincoln, but also for what life was like in the 19th century United States.
Lizzielu More than 1 year ago
Mary Todd Lincoln comes to life in Jean Harvey Baker's biography of her. Ms. Baker's research is impeccable. She writes in a style that brings the reader into the world of Mrs. Lincoln. As a history major, I never had a true understanding of Mary Todd Lincoln. Ms. Baker's book gives scholarly insight into a most complex woman. Mary Lincoln played a pivotal part in the history of the United States and in my opinion, she is the most formidable of First Ladies. After reading this account of her life, I understand her persona. Ms. Baker validates Mary Lincoln's life.
JeffryG More than 1 year ago
Once I started reading, I had a hard time putting it down. There are literally hundreds of references throughout this book. After reading it, you will have a better understanding of this "First Lady," thanks to the diligent effort of the author to offer you factual evidence of her behavior. The first few chapters deal with her childhood and continues until her death. I would recommend it anyone interested in learning more about Mary Todd Lincoln and the Todd family in general.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am so tired of the endless 'Mary bashing' it was refresing to read an insightful biography that shows a balanced look at this complicated and tragic figure in American history. If you want the full story behind Mary Todd Lincoln, read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A telling example of how lost much of women's history has been. Books like this can rewrite history. Amazing reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I learned much that I didn't know about Mary Lincoln. I grew up hearing adults talk about Robert Lincoln's treatment of his mother so this book really interested me. So much has been made clear.
saxmanOH More than 1 year ago
The truth about Mary Todd Lincoln...little known facts about this courageous woman who endured so much in her 68 year life. I highly reccommend this book to you.
Arizona1 More than 1 year ago
Exceptional book. Especially enjoyable after reading the historical novel "Mary" first, which used Baker's factual biography as a source.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a sad story we know so little abpur the wifee