Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln's Image

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From the author of the forthcoming Building the Great Society (February 2018), an intimate look into Lincoln’s White House and the aftermath of his death, via the lives of his two closest aides

In this timely look into Abraham Lincoln’s White House, and the aftermath of his death, noted historian and political advisor Joshua Zeitz presents a fresh perspective on the sixteenth U.S. president—as seen through the eyes of Lincoln’s two closest aides and confidants, John Hay and John Nicolay. Lincoln’s official secretaries, Hay and Nicolay enjoyed more access, witnessed more history, and knew Lincoln better than anyone outside of the president’s immediate family. They were the gatekeepers of Lincoln’s legacy. Drawing on letters, diaries, and memoirs, Lincoln’s Boys is part political drama and part coming-of-age tale—a fascinating story of friendship, politics, war, and the contest over history and remembrance.
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Joshua Zeitz

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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Feb 4, 2014
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781101638071
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Presidents & Heads of State
History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
Political Science / American Government / Executive Branch
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Joshua Zeitz
Daniel Mark Epstein
The first full-length portrait of the marriage of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in more than fifty years, The Lincolns is a fascinating new work of American history by Daniel Mark Epstein, an award-winning biographer and poet known for his passionate understanding of the Civil War period.

Although the private lives of political couples have in our era become front-page news, the true story of this extraordinary and tragic first family has never been fully told. The Lincolns eclipses earlier accounts with riveting new information that makes husband and wife, president and first lady, come alive in all their proud accomplishments and earthy humanity.

Epstein gives a fresh close-up view of the couple’s life in Springfield, Illinois (of their twenty-two years of marriage, all but six were spent there). We witness the troubled courtship of an aristocratic and bewitching Southern belle and a struggling young lawyer who concealed his great ambition with self-deprecating humor; the excitement and confusion of the newlyweds as they begin their marriage in a small room above a tavern, and the early signs of Mary’s instability and Lincoln’s moodiness; their joyful creation of a home on the edge of town as Lincoln builds his law practice and makes his first forays into politics. We discover their consuming ambition as Lincoln achieves celebrity status during his famed debates with Stephen A. Douglas, which lead to Lincoln’s election to the presidency.

The Lincolns’ ascent to the White House brought both dazzling power and the slow, secret unraveling of the couple’s unique bond. The Lincolns dramatizes certain well-known events with stunning new immediacy: Mary’s shopping sprees, her defrauding of the public treasury to increase her budget, and her jealousy, which made enemies for her and problems for the president. Yet she was also a brilliant hostess who transformed the shabby White House into a social center crucial to the Union’s success. After the death of their little boy, not a year after Lincoln took office, Mary turned for solace to spirit mediums, but her grief drove her to the edge of madness. In the end, there was little left of the Lincolns’ relationship save their enduring devotion to each other and to their surviving children.

Written with enormous sweep and striking imagery, The Lincolns is an unforgettable epic set at the center of a crucial American administration. It is also a heartbreaking story of how time and adversity can change people, and of how power corrupts not only morals but affections. Daniel Mark Epstein’s The Lincolns makes two immortal American figures seem as real and human as the rest of us.


From the Hardcover edition.
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