Lincolns in the White House: Four Years That Shattered a Family

Overview

"Readable, well organized, well researched, and smoothly written. . . . Even those who know Lincoln well may learn something they did not know before."

--- The Washington Post Book World

From the day of his inauguration, Abraham Lincoln was confronted with a nation divided by a savage conflict but within the White House walls, Lincoln's family was as divided as the nation he led.

Criticized by the American public for her extravagance, and ...

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The Lincolns in the White House: Four Years That Shattered a Family

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Overview

"Readable, well organized, well researched, and smoothly written. . . . Even those who know Lincoln well may learn something they did not know before."

--- The Washington Post Book World

From the day of his inauguration, Abraham Lincoln was confronted with a nation divided by a savage conflict but within the White House walls, Lincoln's family was as divided as the nation he led.

Criticized by the American public for her extravagance, and distrusted because of her Southern roots, First Lady Mary Lincoln's increasing mental instability would strain her marriage. The presidential couple was devastated when eleven-year-old Willie died in the White House of typhoid fever. Robert Lincoln's success at Harvard made his parents proud, but his relationship with them was troubled and would eventually result in his permanent, painful estrangement. The Lincolns' youngest son Tad, though physically impaired, remained the couple's joy; but the president's assassination coupled with Tad's early death all but destroyed Mary's fragile spirit. Mary finally retreated into deep seclusion, falling further into madness until her own death in 1882. The Lincolns in the White House is a moving and poignant portrait of the family life of America's greatest president.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Packard's narrative is accessible,unpretentious,and solidly written."—Publishers Weekly on Victoria's Daughter

"Broad, scholarly, but still readable."—Philadelphia Inquirer on American Nightmare

William Lee Miller
…readable, well-organized, well-researched and smoothly written…These are distressing stories, often told but put together effectively here. Even those who know Lincoln well may learn something they did not know before.
— The Washinton Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312313036
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/12/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 819,991
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerrold Packard is the author of the best-selling Victoria's Daughters, and most recently American Nightmare. Mr. Packard lives in Vermont.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2007

    Absolutely fascinating - - I could NOT put this book down

    As an avid Lincoln and Civil War-era enthusiast, I found this book truly fascinating, providing details about the Lincoln family and specific information about the surprisingly appalling everyday living conditions in Washington, D.C., and particularly in the White House itself during the Civil War era. This book addressed issues I had never considered, i.e. the swampy and unsanitary waters immediately surrounding the White House were the main source of water, that window screens were not yet invented, resulting in a building filled to capacity with insects of all kinds, giving new insight as to the causes of such high incidence of mortality, including possibly the Lincoln's sons. Details and direct quotes expressing the prevailing great dislike of Mary Todd Lincoln, her sensitivity and frailties, the loss of several of her beloved half-brothers fighting for the Confederacy, her overspending and eccentricities also make this book one that I just could not put down. This book is very different, in that it brings the Lincoln family to life in very humanizing and vivid detail. I loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2006

    Extremely engaging...

    This was one of the few non-fiction books I couldn't put down. I have always found the Lincoln family fascinating, and have read so many books about the presidency, the war, and politics, that it was quite refreshing to have a book dedicated to the ins and outs of their personal life. I truly did learn a lot that I didn't know before. I especially enjoyed the stories about their children, Mary's out of control spending and depression, the people Lincoln trusted the most...things that made them relatable and human. I look forward to reading more about Joshua Speed, Mary Lincoln, Robert Lincoln, their summer house, and the history of the White House itself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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