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Mrs. Lincoln: A Life de Catherine Clinton
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Mrs. Lincoln: A Life (original: 2009; edição: 2010)

de Catherine Clinton (Autor)

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245986,731 (3.71)2
Historian Catherine Clinton draws on important new research to illuminate the remarkable life of Mary Lincoln. Her story is inextricably tied with her husband's presidency, yet her life is an extraordinary chronicle on its own. From an aristocratic Kentucky family, she was an educated, well-connected Southern daughter, and when she married a Springfield lawyer she became a Northern wife--an experience mirrored by thousands of her countrywomen. The Lincolns endured many personal setbacks, including the death of a child and defeats in two Senate races. Mrs. Lincoln herself suffered scorching press attacks. The assassination of her husband haunted her for the rest of her life. Her downward spiral resulted in a brief but traumatizing involuntary incarceration in an asylum and exile in Europe during her later years. One of the most tragic and mysterious of nineteenth-century figures, Mary Lincoln and her story symbolize the pain and loss of Civil War America.--From publisher description.… (mais)
Membro:HarrySavvy
Título:Mrs. Lincoln: A Life
Autores:Catherine Clinton (Autor)
Informação:Harper Perennial (2010), Edition: Reprint, 415 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:*
Etiquetas:American Civil War, American, History

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Mrs. Lincoln: A Life de Catherine Clinton (2009)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
This was very interesting and highly readable, and I did not find myself bored with it at any point. Mary Lincoln (she never referred to herself as Mary Todd Lincoln) is one of the most controversial first ladies in US history, and was on the receiving end of the nastiest political attacks on a first lady ever, at least until Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton came along.

Although Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln were both born in the same region of Kentucky, their early years could not have been more different. Mary Todd came from a southern upper-class background and even grew up with slaves, unlike her husband, who did not see his first slave auction until he was in his late teens. This must have led to some interesting political discussions in the Lincoln household later on, but a substantial amount of correspondence between the two has been lost so we don’t really know. Because of her upper-class background, she was given an extensive education for a woman at that time, and had ten years’ worth of formal education to her husband’s one. Like her husband, she also loved and wrote poetry.

Mary Todd met Abraham Lincoln in Springfield (she had two married sisters who had previously moved there), and they eventually married after a long and tempestuous courtship. During their time in Springfield, she was politically astute and helped Lincoln in his multiple (and mostly unsuccessful) campaigns for public office. But while they were in Springfield, Mary began to show signs of developing what was to become a disastrous pattern of spending and ultimately becoming a shopaholic. Lincoln was a successful corporate lawyer for most of his time in Springfield, so there was enough money to support Mary’s spending habits.

Something I did not realize until I read this book is that in the mid-1800’s spiritualism and spirit circles were considered fairly normal, and the idea of Mary holding seances in the White House would not have raised as many eyebrows then as it would now. Spiritualism was especially prevalent among women, especially because of the high child mortality rate – in New York State alone, fifty percent of all deaths in the state were of children under the age of five. By the time Mary became involved, she had already lost two of her four sons. And as the Civil War death lists mounted, spiritualism became even more widespread. To give an idea of the losses, Civil War military casualties were proportionately higher than those of the US military in all of World War Two. And in the South, twenty percent of white males of military age died in the war. Obviously, there was a deep need for catharsis on both sides, and the statistics for the South provide a different perspective on some (not all) of the Confederate monuments.

Another thing I learned was that there had been a previous attempt on Lincoln’s life in the summer of 1863, and while Lincoln escaped unharmed, Mary did not. Someone had tampered with the family carriage, and Lincoln survived when he decided at the last minute to ride his horse into Washington, DC instead of taking the carriage. Mary decided to follow in the carriage, and the papers reported that the “driver’s seat became detached from the carriage in some way, precipitating the driver to the ground.” As a result, Mary suffered a serious head injury, and the investigation that followed proved that someone had attempted to sabotage the carriage.

Mary’s excessive shopping and spending continued throughout her time as First Lady, and became a PR nightmare as the Civil War went on. The situation became especially bad when other high-society Northern women started a movement to economize as part of the war effort. In 1864, the New York Times reported that ladies were agreeing not to use any expensive imported fabrics for the duration of the war, and a few days later, the Washington papers printed news that patriotic society women were organizing a “Ladies National Covenant,” pledging reduction of the consumption of foreign luxuries. But in 1864, Mary took another trip to New York City to buy even more, and became so caught up in her own need to buy that she “demanded and received confirmation from government offices that the United States must not offend European allies by boycotting imports. She then tried to justify her actions as patriotic – bolstering the import-export market – when she indulged in foreign finery.” (page 220). By then, she had racked up $25,000 (the amount of her husband’s annual salary) in debt, and most of it was to a single dry goods store in New York City. Even after the Lincoln assassination, she continued her spending habits, first as a form of retail therapy but then more compulsively. For example, one of her bills, for over $600, included a purchase of eighty-four pairs of gloves.

If you’re interested in historic photography, the book also contains the only known photograph of Lincoln’s open coffin. For some reason, almost all the copies were destroyed, and it was not brought forward until the twentieth century.

As this book explains, Mary Lincoln was the first First Lady to try to carve out a separate role for herself (and later tried to introduce the idea of “First Widow”), and became controversial partly because of that, so this would be of interest not only to Lincoln aficionados but also to anyone interested in historical First Ladies.
( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
This was very interesting and highly readable, and I did not find myself bored with it at any point. Mary Lincoln (she never referred to herself as Mary Todd Lincoln) is one of the most controversial first ladies in US history, and was on the receiving end of the nastiest political attacks on a first lady ever, at least until Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton came along.

Although Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln were both born in the same region of Kentucky, their early years could not have been more different. Mary Todd came from a southern upper-class background and even grew up with slaves, unlike her husband, who did not see his first slave auction until he was in his late teens. This must have led to some interesting political discussions in the Lincoln household later on, but a substantial amount of correspondence between the two has been lost so we don’t really know. Because of her upper-class background, she was given an extensive education for a woman at that time, and had ten years’ worth of formal education to her husband’s one. Like her husband, she also loved and wrote poetry.

Mary Todd met Abraham Lincoln in Springfield (she had two married sisters who had previously moved there), and they eventually married after a long and tempestuous courtship. During their time in Springfield, she was politically astute and helped Lincoln in his multiple (and mostly unsuccessful) campaigns for public office. But while they were in Springfield, Mary began to show signs of developing what was to become a disastrous pattern of spending and ultimately becoming a shopaholic. Lincoln was a successful corporate lawyer for most of his time in Springfield, so there was enough money to support Mary’s spending habits.

Something I did not realize until I read this book is that in the mid-1800’s spiritualism and spirit circles were considered fairly normal, and the idea of Mary holding seances in the White House would not have raised as many eyebrows then as it would now. Spiritualism was especially prevalent among women, especially because of the high child mortality rate – in New York State alone, fifty percent of all deaths in the state were of children under the age of five. By the time Mary became involved, she had already lost two of her four sons. And as the Civil War death lists mounted, spiritualism became even more widespread. To give an idea of the losses, Civil War military casualties were proportionately higher than those of the US military in all of World War Two. And in the South, twenty percent of white males of military age died in the war. Obviously, there was a deep need for catharsis on both sides, and the statistics for the South provide a different perspective on some (not all) of the Confederate monuments.

Another thing I learned was that there had been a previous attempt on Lincoln’s life in the summer of 1863, and while Lincoln escaped unharmed, Mary did not. Someone had tampered with the family carriage, and Lincoln survived when he decided at the last minute to ride his horse into Washington, DC instead of taking the carriage. Mary decided to follow in the carriage, and the papers reported that the “driver’s seat became detached from the carriage in some way, precipitating the driver to the ground.” As a result, Mary suffered a serious head injury, and the investigation that followed proved that someone had attempted to sabotage the carriage.

Mary’s excessive shopping and spending continued throughout her time as First Lady, and became a PR nightmare as the Civil War went on. The situation became especially bad when other high-society Northern women started a movement to economize as part of the war effort. In 1864, the New York Times reported that ladies were agreeing not to use any expensive imported fabrics for the duration of the war, and a few days later, the Washington papers printed news that patriotic society women were organizing a “Ladies National Covenant,” pledging reduction of the consumption of foreign luxuries. But in 1864, Mary took another trip to New York City to buy even more, and became so caught up in her own need to buy that she “demanded and received confirmation from government offices that the United States must not offend European allies by boycotting imports. She then tried to justify her actions as patriotic – bolstering the import-export market – when she indulged in foreign finery.” (page 220). By then, she had racked up $25,000 (the amount of her husband’s annual salary) in debt, and most of it was to a single dry goods store in New York City. Even after the Lincoln assassination, she continued her spending habits, first as a form of retail therapy but then more compulsively. For example, one of her bills, for over $600, included a purchase of eighty-four pairs of gloves.

If you’re interested in historic photography, the book also contains the only known photograph of Lincoln’s open coffin. For some reason, almost all the copies were destroyed, and it was not brought forward until the twentieth century.

As this book explains, Mary Lincoln was the first First Lady to try to carve out a separate role for herself (and later tried to introduce the idea of “First Widow”), and became controversial partly because of that, so this would be of interest not only to Lincoln aficionados but also to anyone interested in historical First Ladies.
( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
This was a very easy and entertaining read. However, prose aside, I felt it lacked significant depth and detail. Perhaps, many details of Mrs. Lincoln's life are missing? I found myself wanting to know more. That aside, there are many interesting stories of the former President here, and many well known events of the former President are covered. All in all, a quick read, but it may leave a shallow impression on the reader. ( )
  Mitchell_Bergeson_Jr | Aug 6, 2017 |
A Tragic Biography of a Maligned First Lady. I read this many years ago, don't know what happened to my book, that is exactly why I do not like to lend my babies. Ordering another copy today. As I remember it seemed to be a tragic life. I look forward to revisiting it.
  pgturner | Mar 30, 2014 |
This is a balanced view of Mary Todd Lincoln's life, although a few less guesses about her childhood would have suited me better. She never used the word Todd in her name after her marriage, just Mary Lincoln.

We learn about her opinions on race, politics, Abe's career, and the war. We see her suffering as her family is separated by the war, and her good friendship with her black seamstress. Mainly we see her mental health deteriorate as she suffers the loss of children, and of course the assassination of her husband. Her only surviving son, Robert, is finally forced to commit her to a mental institution for a while and then she lives with her older sister in Springfield. The last years of her life she is a recluse with a tenuous hold on reality. A very tragic life, but much more interesting than what I had known before. She was a complicated, intelligent, politically savvy woman before her mental troubles. I recommend this. ( )
1 vote bjmitch | Jun 20, 2010 |
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Handel, EricDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Historian Catherine Clinton draws on important new research to illuminate the remarkable life of Mary Lincoln. Her story is inextricably tied with her husband's presidency, yet her life is an extraordinary chronicle on its own. From an aristocratic Kentucky family, she was an educated, well-connected Southern daughter, and when she married a Springfield lawyer she became a Northern wife--an experience mirrored by thousands of her countrywomen. The Lincolns endured many personal setbacks, including the death of a child and defeats in two Senate races. Mrs. Lincoln herself suffered scorching press attacks. The assassination of her husband haunted her for the rest of her life. Her downward spiral resulted in a brief but traumatizing involuntary incarceration in an asylum and exile in Europe during her later years. One of the most tragic and mysterious of nineteenth-century figures, Mary Lincoln and her story symbolize the pain and loss of Civil War America.--From publisher description.

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