Lincoln at Home: Two Glimpses of Abraham Lincoln's Family Life

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As Lincoln led the nation into the Civil War, managing the Union was effort, issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, winning reelection in 1864, and planning the Reconstruction of the South, he also led a private life, defined by his close relationship with his wife and by his devotion to his children. Lincoln at Home offers a view into the life of family through their written correspondence.
With a brief account of their first years in the White House and the complete collection of all the known letters exchanged by Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, this elegant portrait defines the sixteenth president as a dedicated -- though often a desperately busy and distracted -- family man.
Lincoln at Home is an intimate and rare glimpse of the president as husband and father, a cheerful man pinned to the floor while playing with his children, and a desolate man struck down with grief at the death of his son. Beyond this, we are shown a personal side of the man who managed one of the most difficult periods in American history.
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About the author

David Herbert Donald is the author of We Are Lincoln Men, Lincoln, which won the prestigious Lincoln Prize and was on the New York Times bestseller list for fourteen weeks, and Lincoln at Home. He has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, for Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War, and for Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe. He is the Charles Warren Professor of American History and of American Civilization Emeritus at Harvard University and resides in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jan 25, 2001
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Pages
128
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ISBN
9780743213431
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
History / United States / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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For readers of the historical works of Robert K. Massie, David McCulough, and Alison Weir comes the first biography on the life of Abigail Adams and her sisters.
 
“Never sisters loved each other better than we.”—Abigail Adams in a letter to her sister Mary, June 1776
 
Much has been written about the enduring marriage of President John Adams and his wife, Abigail. But few know of the equally strong bond Abigail shared with her sisters, Mary Cranch and Elizabeth Shaw Peabody, accomplished women in their own right. Now acclaimed biographer Diane Jacobs reveals their moving story, which unfolds against the stunning backdrop of America in its transformative colonial years.
 
Abigail, Mary, and Elizabeth Smith grew up in Weymouth, Massachusetts, the close-knit daughters of a minister and his wife. When the sisters moved away from one another, they relied on near-constant letters—from what John Adams called their “elegant pen”—to buoy them through pregnancies, illnesses, grief, political upheaval, and, for Abigail, life in the White House. Infusing her writing with rich historical perspective and detail, Jacobs offers fascinating insight into these progressive women’s lives: oldest sister Mary, who became de facto mayor of her small village; youngest sister Betsy, an aspiring writer who, along with her husband, founded the second coeducational school in the United States; and middle child Abigail, who years before becoming First Lady ran the family farm while her husband served in the Continental Congress, first in Philadelphia, and was then sent to France and England, where she joined him at last.
 
This engaging narrative traces the sisters’ lives from their childhood sibling rivalries to their eyewitness roles during the American Revolution and their adulthood as outspoken wives and mothers. They were women ahead of their time who believed in intellectual and educational equality between the sexes. Drawing from newly discovered correspondence, never-before-published diaries, and archival research, Dear Abigail is a fascinating front-row seat to history—and to the lives of three exceptional women who were influential during a time when our nation’s democracy was just taking hold.

Advance praise for Dear Abigail
 
“In a beautifully wrought narrative, Diane Jacobs has brought the high-spirited, hyperarticulate Smith sisters, and the early years of the American republic, to rich, luminous life. . . . A stunning, sensitive work of history.”—Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Cleopatra
 
“Jacobs is a superb storyteller. In this sweeping narrative about family and friendship during the American Revolution, Abigail Adams emerges as one of the great political heroines of the eighteenth century. I fell in love with her all over again.”—Amanda Foreman, New York Times bestselling author of A World on Fire
 
“Beauty, brains, and breeding—Elizabeth, Abigail, and Mary had them all. This absorbing history shows how these close-knit and well-educated daughters of colonial America become women of influence in the newly begotten United States. Jacobs’s feel for the period is confident; so is her appreciation of the nuances of character.”—Daniel Mark Epstein, author of The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage
In February 2009, America celebrates the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, and the pace of new Lincoln books and articles has already quickened. From his cabinet’s politics to his own struggles with depression, Lincoln remains the most written-about story in our history. And each year historians find something new and important to say about the greatest of our Presidents.

Lincoln Revisited is a masterly guidePub to what’s new and what’s noteworthy in this unfolding story—a brilliant gathering of fresh scholarship by the leading Lincoln historians of our time. Brought together by The Lincoln Forum, they tackle uncharted territory and emerging questions; they also take a new look at established debates—including those about their own landmark works.

Here, these well-known historians revisit key chapters in Lincoln’s legacy—from Matthew Pinsker on Lincoln’s private life and Jean Baker on religion and the Lincoln marriage to Geoffrey Perret on Lincoln as leader and Frank J. Williams on Lincoln and civil liberties in wartime.

The eighteen original essays explore every corner of Lincoln’s world—religion and politics, slavery and sovereignty, presidential leadership and the rule of law, the Second Inaugural Address and the assassination.
In his 1947 classic, Lincoln Reconsidered, David Herbert Donald confronted the Lincoln myth. Today, the scholars in Lincoln Revisited give a new generation of students, scholars, and citizens the perspectives vital for understanding the constantly reinterpreted genius of Abraham Lincoln.

Winner of the Lincoln Prize

Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Abraham Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.

Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.

It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war.

We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through.

This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.
WHY THE SOUTH LOST

What led to the downfall of the Confederacy? The distinguished professors of history represented in this volume examine the following crucial factors in the South’s defeat:

ECONOMIC—RICHARD N. CURRENT of the University of Wisconsin attributes the victory of the North to fundamental economic superiority so great that the civilian resources of the South were dissipated under the conditions of war.

MILITARY—T. HARRY WILLIAMS of Louisiana State University cites the deficiencies of Confederate strategy and military leadership, evaluating the influence on both sides of Baron Jomini, a 19th-century strategist who stressed position warfare and a rapid tactical offensive.

DIPLOMATIC—NORMAN A. GRAERNER of the University of Illinois holds that the basic reason England and France decided not to intervene on the side of the South was simply that to have done so would have violated the general principle of non-intervention to which they were committed.

SOCIAL—DAVID DONALD of Columbia University offers the intriguing thesis that an excess of Southern democracy killed the Confederacy. From the ordinary man in the ranks to Jefferson Davis himself, too much emphasis was placed on individual freedom and not enough on military discipline.

POLITICAL—DAVID M. POTTER of Stanford University suggests that the deficiencies of President Davis as a civil and military leader turner the balance, and that the South suffered from the lack of a second well-organized political party to force its leadership into competence.
Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War. James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War--the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry--and then moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself--the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are McPherson's new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory. The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict: the South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Union founded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war--slavery--and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America's bloodiest conflict. This authoritative volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty.
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