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The Trials of Mrs. Lincoln

Overview

Mary Todd Lincoln (1818–82) was a politically ambitious, volatile, and sharp-tongued woman, a shopaholic, and an embarrassment to her son and to the powerful men who sought to control the Lincoln legacy for their own political supremacy. Slandered by former Lincoln cronies and Republican operatives, such as William Herndon, Ward Hill Lamon, and Thurlow Weed; disliked by her son’s wife, the former Mary Harlan; plagued by debts, her pension grant having been denied by Congress; conspired against by her son, Robert,...
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Overview

Mary Todd Lincoln (1818–82) was a politically ambitious, volatile, and sharp-tongued woman, a shopaholic, and an embarrassment to her son and to the powerful men who sought to control the Lincoln legacy for their own political supremacy. Slandered by former Lincoln cronies and Republican operatives, such as William Herndon, Ward Hill Lamon, and Thurlow Weed; disliked by her son’s wife, the former Mary Harlan; plagued by debts, her pension grant having been denied by Congress; conspired against by her son, Robert, along with Supreme Court justice David Davis, Leonard Swett, John Todd Stuart, Isaac N. Arnold, and others, she had literally no one to turn to. This account of her final years, based on documentary evidence, sets the record straight and restores the reputation of one of the most maligned women in American political history.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Based on family documents, this account tells how the President'scap P when referring to specific U.S. president. aa widow was judged insane by a jury in an action brought by her son, Robert; after her release from a mental institution, she spent her final years of obscurity in Europe. ``The author sees Mrs. Lincoln as a much-maligned woman whose eccentric and reclusive behavior rendered her a burden to her spoiled son and an embarrassment to those preserving Lincoln's memory,'' said PW. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In the debate on Mrs. Lincoln's mental state after her husband's assassination, and her own failing economic fortunes, Schreiner weighs in on her behalf, arguing that Mrs. Lincoln was wrongfully committed to an institution, largely because her son, Robert, wanted to escape further personal and financial embarrassment. He offers a vivid, if also rather inventive (e.g., there are imagined conversations) account of the court proceedings, Lincoln's stay in an asylum, and her release and travels. Those in search of the real person will find her in Jean Baker's biography (Norton, 1987) and Mark E. Neely, Jr. and Gerald McMurtry's The Insanity File (Southern Illinois Univ. Pr., 1986). Still, this is a sprightly, enjoyable narrative. For public libraries. Randall M. Miller, History Dept., St. Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia
Presidential Studies Quarterly
“A convincing argument that Mary Lincoln was a mistreated woman.”—Presidential Studies Quarterly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556112423
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/8/1991
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Samuel A Schreiner Jr., a veteran journalist and former senior editor at Reader’s Digest, is the author of The Passionate Beechers: A Family Saga of Sanctity and Scandal That Changed America.
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