The Lincolns in the White House: Four Years That Shattered a Family
The Lincolns in the White House Four Years That Shattered a Family Author:Jerrold M. Packard '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 w... more »as 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.« less
A good overview of the Lincolns' four years in the White House, although I felt that The Lincolns: Portrait of A Marriage by Daniel Epstein went into more detail about the family and its issues than this book did. But it's well-written, as all of Packard's books are. Here Packard focuses a little less on the Lincolns' relationships with each other, and more on what four years of civil war and life in the filthy and unhealthy town of Washington DC did to them all.