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The Last Lincolns: The Rise Fall of a Great American Family

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Most books about Abraham Lincoln end on April 14, 1865, the day he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre. But that historic event takes place near the beginning of The Last Lincolns, a singular title in the vast output of Lincolnia and one of the most unusual books ever written on the sixteenth president and his family. Going far beyond that fateful day into uncharted territo Most books about Abraham Lincoln end on April 14, 1865, the day he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre. But that historic event takes place near the beginning of The Last Lincolns, a singular title in the vast output of Lincolnia and one of the most unusual books ever written on the sixteenth president and his family. Going far beyond that fateful day into uncharted territory, it's a gripping page turner written by a TV producer with proven storytelling skills. This absorbing American tragedy tells the largely unknown story of the acrimony that consumed the Lincolns in the months and years that followed the president's murder. This was not a family that came together in mourning and mutual sadness; instead, they fell out over the anguished mental condition of the widowed Mary. In 1875, Robert, the handsome but resentful eldest Lincoln child engineered her arrest and forcible commitment to an insane asylum. In each succeeding generation, the Lincolns' misfortunes multiplied, as a litany of alcohol abuse, squandered fortunes, burned family papers, and outright dissipation led to the downfall of this once-great family. Charles Lachman traces the story right up to the last generation of Lincoln descendants: great-grandson Bob Lincoln Beckwith, his estranged wife, Annemarie, and her son, Timothy Lincoln Beckwith. Bob, who was according to all medical evidence sterile, believes the son who bears the Lincoln name was the product of an adulterous affair. Annemarie, however, wanted the boy to be a Lincoln, putting the child in line for a vast inheritance. There's even evidence uncovered by Lachman for the first time that a scheme to obtain possession of the Lincoln fortune was orchestrated by Bob Beckwith's chauffer, who may have been the notorious outlaw and skyjacker, D.B. Cooper. Published in advance of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday in February 2009, The Last Lincolns provides an unforgettable glimpse into the personal legacy left by the man who could unite a nation…but not his own family. An Unusual Family History Reveals That: Abraham and Mary Lincoln were very lenient with their younger sons;and rarely imposed discipline on them. At age 12, young Tad Lincoln, whose education during the family's White House years was very lax, could still not read. Eldest son Robert Lincoln objected to the intense attention the media paid to the Lincoln family. After her husband's assassination, Mary Lincoln pleaded for financial assistance from family friends and people in government. Mary's erratic behavior led Robert to swear out a warrant for her arrest and institutionalization.


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Most books about Abraham Lincoln end on April 14, 1865, the day he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre. But that historic event takes place near the beginning of The Last Lincolns, a singular title in the vast output of Lincolnia and one of the most unusual books ever written on the sixteenth president and his family. Going far beyond that fateful day into uncharted territo Most books about Abraham Lincoln end on April 14, 1865, the day he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre. But that historic event takes place near the beginning of The Last Lincolns, a singular title in the vast output of Lincolnia and one of the most unusual books ever written on the sixteenth president and his family. Going far beyond that fateful day into uncharted territory, it's a gripping page turner written by a TV producer with proven storytelling skills. This absorbing American tragedy tells the largely unknown story of the acrimony that consumed the Lincolns in the months and years that followed the president's murder. This was not a family that came together in mourning and mutual sadness; instead, they fell out over the anguished mental condition of the widowed Mary. In 1875, Robert, the handsome but resentful eldest Lincoln child engineered her arrest and forcible commitment to an insane asylum. In each succeeding generation, the Lincolns' misfortunes multiplied, as a litany of alcohol abuse, squandered fortunes, burned family papers, and outright dissipation led to the downfall of this once-great family. Charles Lachman traces the story right up to the last generation of Lincoln descendants: great-grandson Bob Lincoln Beckwith, his estranged wife, Annemarie, and her son, Timothy Lincoln Beckwith. Bob, who was according to all medical evidence sterile, believes the son who bears the Lincoln name was the product of an adulterous affair. Annemarie, however, wanted the boy to be a Lincoln, putting the child in line for a vast inheritance. There's even evidence uncovered by Lachman for the first time that a scheme to obtain possession of the Lincoln fortune was orchestrated by Bob Beckwith's chauffer, who may have been the notorious outlaw and skyjacker, D.B. Cooper. Published in advance of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday in February 2009, The Last Lincolns provides an unforgettable glimpse into the personal legacy left by the man who could unite a nation…but not his own family. An Unusual Family History Reveals That: Abraham and Mary Lincoln were very lenient with their younger sons;and rarely imposed discipline on them. At age 12, young Tad Lincoln, whose education during the family's White House years was very lax, could still not read. Eldest son Robert Lincoln objected to the intense attention the media paid to the Lincoln family. After her husband's assassination, Mary Lincoln pleaded for financial assistance from family friends and people in government. Mary's erratic behavior led Robert to swear out a warrant for her arrest and institutionalization.

30 review for The Last Lincolns: The Rise Fall of a Great American Family

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    This was a fascinating book! Told from the pretext of a post-White House/assassination Lincoln family, this a type of political "King Lear" played out upon the world stage. Although the two main characters are Mary Todd (she doesn't die until the 20th chapter) and Robert Lincoln, the book touches albeit briefly on the lives of the descendants of Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln family lived thru some of the most fascinating periods of American History. From the depths of the Civil War to the Gilded A This was a fascinating book! Told from the pretext of a post-White House/assassination Lincoln family, this a type of political "King Lear" played out upon the world stage. Although the two main characters are Mary Todd (she doesn't die until the 20th chapter) and Robert Lincoln, the book touches albeit briefly on the lives of the descendants of Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln family lived thru some of the most fascinating periods of American History. From the depths of the Civil War to the Gilded Age and Industrial Revolutions to the Roaring Twenties this family saw it all. I will readily admit that part of the book that gripped me the most was the immediate aftermath of the 1865 assassination and Mary Todd Lincoln's gradual slow descent into madness. Robert Todd Lincoln, for as much as he was the only Lincoln child to actually see adulthood, a part of me actually pitied him. Sure he outlived three of his brothers and both of his parents becoming Secretary of War and the president of the Pullman Palace Car Company but at the same time I believe the burden he must have felt at being the sole surviving child of Abraham Lincoln was far too much of a mantle to carry, though he seemed to have done it with a semblance of class and somewhat of aplomb. For that reason I find Robert Todd Lincoln one of the most intriguing individuals in American History. ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN 2009.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gary Sloan

    Charles Lachman has written an entertaining, titillating book. I will grant him that. However, throughout the "biography" Lachman chose to go the salacious route even with information that has been readily debunked. While this may be suitable for a tabloid show such as "Inside Edition", it is NOT suitable when it comes to history. The facts are fascinating in their own right, but when the truth is not juicy enough, apparently Lachman would rather run with the fiction. Much of the information cite Charles Lachman has written an entertaining, titillating book. I will grant him that. However, throughout the "biography" Lachman chose to go the salacious route even with information that has been readily debunked. While this may be suitable for a tabloid show such as "Inside Edition", it is NOT suitable when it comes to history. The facts are fascinating in their own right, but when the truth is not juicy enough, apparently Lachman would rather run with the fiction. Much of the information cited within this book is available in other published forms. Lachman's research seems to be comprised primarily of cutting and pasting from other books. His entire section regarding Mary Todd Lincoln's institutionalization is cleverly lifted from Jean Baker's "Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography" with a dash of Jason Emerson's "The Madness of Mary Lincoln". The main problem with this approach is that Lachman, ever striving for juicy tabloid fodder, uses the slanted inaccurate perspective of Baker's biography when discussing the trial. Baker's "male chauvinistic society" perspective blinds her to the fact that Mary Lincoln was not well, nor should she be after losing three children at young ages and having her husband murdered before her eyes, she needed help and it was out of concern and love that Robert acted in the manner he did. How do we know this? Because of his letters. Because of letters to Robert from concerned family and friends begging Robert to do something. Because of letters from experts at the time in Mental Health who are warning Robert she could do harm to herself. These are the facts of the time. Not sociological perspectives slanted by personal bias. For a more fair and balanced perspective on this matter I would recommend reading Jason Emerson's "The Madness of Mary Lincoln" which does not take the bait of casting a villain in the matter. The truth is there was no villain. Robert AND Mary were each the victim of the events in their lives that led to her breakdown in 1875. I would also recommend Mark Neely and Gerald McMurtry's book "The Insanity File". This book was written from the letters and documents found hidden in Robert Lincoln's home 'Hildene'. Incidentally, the papers were found in the safe under the staircase on the FIRST floor of the home, not hidden within a cabinet beneath a non-existent third floor staircase. Any visitor to 'Hildene' would be able to enlighten Mr. Lachman to this fact. The real trouble begins when Lachman delves into the historical "unknown". That being the children and grandchildren of Robert Lincoln. The problem is, some of us DO know about these people and were very surprised at the things written about them within his book. Jessie Lincoln ballooned to over 400 lbs? Really? Having personally seen photos and video of Jessie up to the point of her death, I can state with 100% confidence that Jessie Lincoln never approached two hundred pounds (I'd be surprised if she ever hit one fifty) let alone four hundred. So where did this inaccurate gem get culled from? Well, I can only guess, but I believe he heard debunked rumors of Mary Harlan Lincoln gaining weight in her later years. Why debunked? Well according to people who actually knew the Lincoln family, in her later years when she was too feeble to climb the stairs, she would be carried up. If she were over four hundred pounds, how many people would be carrying her up the stairs? Not the one person every personal recollection of this time cites. Rumors are not facts and while they may pass the test for the scrutiny of a program such as "Inside Edition", the field of history usually prefers the truth. This entire book is littered with too many examples to cite in which sensationalism is chosen over accuracy. The worst example of course being the strained D.B. Cooper connection which seems misplaced and forced to say the least. Just because something can not be disproven to satisfaction does not mean it is proven. The claim is beyond ludicrous and the evidence laughable and the very definition of underwhelming. It is in this strained section that Lachman's "Inside Edition" mentality is most visible. To apply a cliche, Lachman's book adheres to flash over substance in every instance possible. Not one to let fact cloud his sensationalistic tendencies, Lachman has written an entertaining albeit woefully inaccurate book about the Last Lincolns. It is my hope that one day someone will truly research these last Lincolns, not simply cut and paste the research of others, and tell their genuine stories as opposed to tabloid driven fiction. Until then this book remains a fun read ideal for an extended visit to one's lavatory, but nothing more.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    An extremely informative book which relates the lives of the Lincoln dynasty from immediately after the President's assassination until the death of the "last Lincoln" in 1983. This was a family that experienced much tragedy, and controversy surrounded them, beginning immediately after President Lincoln's death. Almost two-thirds of the book concentrates on the disturbed and unhappy life of Mary Todd Lincoln, the President's widow, as she battled with her only surviving son, Robert, in a scandal An extremely informative book which relates the lives of the Lincoln dynasty from immediately after the President's assassination until the death of the "last Lincoln" in 1983. This was a family that experienced much tragedy, and controversy surrounded them, beginning immediately after President Lincoln's death. Almost two-thirds of the book concentrates on the disturbed and unhappy life of Mary Todd Lincoln, the President's widow, as she battled with her only surviving son, Robert, in a scandalous insanity trial. Robert's only son, Abraham II, died at a young age and the Lincoln name disappeared, leaving the progeny of Robert's two daughters to carry on the dynasty.......unfortunately that was not to be as scandal and eccentric behavior sullied the family reputation. It was a sad end to the name of one of the most revered Americans in history. Recommended reading.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    The author, Charles Lachman, sets the stage by describing the changing dynamics of the Lincoln nuclear family. He shows how each loss of a child was emotionally pivotal for the Lincolns. Each loss changed the experience of the family for Robert, the only child to produce heirs. Even today, the Lincolns would be considered permissive parents. Many permissive parents provide moral education or guidance in socialization, but there is no evidence that the Lincolns did. It seems that trashing a law of The author, Charles Lachman, sets the stage by describing the changing dynamics of the Lincoln nuclear family. He shows how each loss of a child was emotionally pivotal for the Lincolns. Each loss changed the experience of the family for Robert, the only child to produce heirs. Even today, the Lincolns would be considered permissive parents. Many permissive parents provide moral education or guidance in socialization, but there is no evidence that the Lincolns did. It seems that trashing a law office, losing a speech, or interrupting a cabinet meeting went not only unpunished but unremarked. Allowed to be children well beyond childhood, Lincoln's sons seemed to have little appreciation for their father's role, let alone his achievements. Robert is tepid to positive on the man whose name he capitalized on but his children and grandchildren are neutral to negative. One descendant seems to be proud that he is not registered to vote in the country which his great-grandfather died for preserving. Mary Todd Lincoln is shown to be preoccupied with status, shopping, and her own sorrow. She coldly ships her first born off to college while doting on his brothers at home. Last year I read the House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, A Family Divided by War which shows Mary to be the best of the bunch in the Todd family, a blatantly self absorbed group. Despite their loyalty to the Confederacy, they pushed their brother-in-law (the Union's Commander in Chief) for favor after favor. This sense of entitlement, whether inherited or taught, clearly shows in Mary's behavior and in that of subsequent generations of Todd-Lincolns. Robert Lincoln defies his father's well known adage, "There but for the grace of God go I" in his role with Pullman. Unlike Carnegie or Vanderbilt, his name is not attached to the enterprise, but he mirrors their principles. He has a "good" daughter who follows the conventions of her time and a rebellious daughter who marries 3 men against the wishes of her family. They produce the last of the Lincoln line, which has the selfishness and sense of entitlement of the Todds and with it a wealth that eluded previous generations. The last two Lincoln heirs exhibit mental health issues that exceed those of the former first lady, their great-grandmother. While the author doesn't speculate, there is a lot for armchair psychologists to chew on.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Hoerner

    It has been a while since I've read a history book for pleasure. I came across this one while I was straightening books in the new biography section and was intrigued. What a sad family and really depressing to realize that there are no living direct descendents of Abraham Lincoln. Only one of his four children (Robert Todd) reached adulthood. Robert had only one son that died as a teen and two daughters. The daughters' children were spoiled, weird brats and never reproduced. It is a shame to re It has been a while since I've read a history book for pleasure. I came across this one while I was straightening books in the new biography section and was intrigued. What a sad family and really depressing to realize that there are no living direct descendents of Abraham Lincoln. Only one of his four children (Robert Todd) reached adulthood. Robert had only one son that died as a teen and two daughters. The daughters' children were spoiled, weird brats and never reproduced. It is a shame to realize that the greatness of Lincoln could not be passed on to this children or grandchildren. I was not aware of all the important things his son Robert Todd Lincoln accomplished - Secretary of War under Garfield/Arthur and minister to the Court of St James in England. Now this has turned me back on to biographies. Next up, the story of a newlywed in the Donner Party!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lauri Carr

    LOVED this. I couldn't put it down. I have always had a special place in my heart for Abraham Lincoln, due to my family's homeplace. Now I know how the rest of the stories turn out...heartbreak on every page. Mr. Lachman writes in a conversational style that makes this a quick read. His narrative is so charming you feel like you are let in on the Lincoln family secrets. Very well documented and researched.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This story of Abraham Lincoln's descendants read like a novel, and I really enjoyed it until the last two chapters. At that point, the author went off on a tangent about a con-man who had tried to swindle one of the descendants. It was kind of a tawdry ending. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this book, which was full of fascinating stories.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Thielen

    Lachman’s book on the Lincolns is not the first book I’d recommend to someone interested in Lincoln history; but if you are a fan of all things related to the 16th president, you may want to take a look at it. Lincoln himself, understandably, factors in only the first chapters of the book. Mary Lincoln receives considerably more attention. The book provides expanded detail on the personality traits that made her an exasperating woman. If there was a means to make herself unpopular, Mary found it Lachman’s book on the Lincolns is not the first book I’d recommend to someone interested in Lincoln history; but if you are a fan of all things related to the 16th president, you may want to take a look at it. Lincoln himself, understandably, factors in only the first chapters of the book. Mary Lincoln receives considerably more attention. The book provides expanded detail on the personality traits that made her an exasperating woman. If there was a means to make herself unpopular, Mary found it. But the book also describes her son Robert’s efforts to have her permanently ensconced in an asylum. How she eventually escaped that fate and the people who played a role in the tale – including one of the first female lawyers, Myra Bradwell – makes for an engrossing story that gives the reader more sympathy for her. Robert Lincoln is the largest figure in the book and the shadow he casts over future generations is considerable. Vain and thin-skinned, he became a stuffy Gilded Age tycoon who was offended by the stories of his father’s early years - and took pains to dispute every mention of log cabins and rail-splitting. He served in a several political positions, including as Minister to Great Britain. The republican party considered running him as a presidential candidate but never did – which was a good thing for both Robert and the country. Each generation of Lincolns after Robert becomes more absorbed (often more eccentric) and less distinguished, until the candle burns out in the 1960s. The author is quite taken with a side-story about the fact that Lincoln’s last blood relative, Robert Beckwith, may have known and associated with skyjacker D. B. Cooper. Evidence seems thin and even those who have studied the Cooper case don’t see the connection. I wondered if it was included in the book if only to add some color to a family saga that was wearing thin at its end.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linda Edmonds cerullo

    A sweeping history of the descendants of Abraham Lincoln. This is a comprehensive account of what happened to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of our sixteenth president and how and why his line did not continue. Starting at the time of the assassination and continuing until the death of the last great-grandchild this marvelous biography of the Lincoln family details the death of three of the four Lincoln sons, the eventual institutionalization of Mary Lincoln by her sole surviving son, A sweeping history of the descendants of Abraham Lincoln. This is a comprehensive account of what happened to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of our sixteenth president and how and why his line did not continue. Starting at the time of the assassination and continuing until the death of the last great-grandchild this marvelous biography of the Lincoln family details the death of three of the four Lincoln sons, the eventual institutionalization of Mary Lincoln by her sole surviving son, Robert Lincoln, and then continues with Robert and Mary Harlan Lincoln's three children and the children of their two daughters. If there was ever a family haunted by tragedy and despair, this family was surely the one! Heartbreaking accounts of loss, illness, insanity and challenges beyond what most people could ever endure. A very fair account of Robert Lincoln's difficulties with his mother and her peculiarities. Charles Lachman does a wonderful job of drawing both frustration and sympathy from the reader on behalf of both Mary Lincoln and her son Robert. The trials Robert then endured from his own children, most especially his youngest daughter, Jessie, will touch a nerve with many parents. But the most surprising revelation in this book is how little the great-grandchildren of Abraham Lincoln really cared about their illustrious and much loved great-grandfather. It is surprising, troubling and discouraging to think they had much less respect for him than the rest of the world. An enlightening and well-researched book that is at times astonishing and eye-opening.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    Robert Lincoln, lawyer, only surviving son, has to deal with the estate of the assassinated President Lincoln and the care of his mother Mary Todd. It is up to the reader to decide if the deaths of three sons, her husband, surviving the Chicago Fire, a witness to a hundred thousand people losing their homes, contributed to her mental instability. There is a trial to have her committed to an asylum and then her secret letter writing to get her freed hoping to live with her sister in Springfield, Robert Lincoln, lawyer, only surviving son, has to deal with the estate of the assassinated President Lincoln and the care of his mother Mary Todd. It is up to the reader to decide if the deaths of three sons, her husband, surviving the Chicago Fire, a witness to a hundred thousand people losing their homes, contributed to her mental instability. There is a trial to have her committed to an asylum and then her secret letter writing to get her freed hoping to live with her sister in Springfield, IL. Mary Todd's life in Chicago, over seas in Germany, Tad's dying of tuberculosis, compulsive shopping, Washington politics -- The Last Lincolns is a different look at what being a part of the family of the most written about President, a time when the future of the United States was in jeopardy and so many people who shaped the country- the cabinet members, generals. congressmen, business elite as the country grew and was pushing westward.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    The first 3/4 of the book is very good, where it talks about Mary Lincoln, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and their son Robert. After Robert the family line goes downhill and eventually sputters out. I thought it was quite well-written for a historical work. It just suffered from lack of good material to work with the last fourth of the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    This is an excellent read that answers the questions about what happened to the Lincoln family after the President had died. Very good and interesting.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    This book was incredible. Edged at times (especially near the end) on bad clickbait. But what an insight into the descendants of Lincoln. Weird ass group of people tbh.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I find this book very entertaining and I am learning lots of stuff I had no idea about. I mean, I knew the basic premise of what happened to Abe on April 14 and I knew that all her sons but Robert died young. But I did not know the extent of what happened to the Lincolns after Abe was killed. This book carries on down the line of all the Lincolns and what happened to them, where they worked, their offspring. Interesting that Robert was the only son who lived and lost his son. His two daughters marr I find this book very entertaining and I am learning lots of stuff I had no idea about. I mean, I knew the basic premise of what happened to Abe on April 14 and I knew that all her sons but Robert died young. But I did not know the extent of what happened to the Lincolns after Abe was killed. This book carries on down the line of all the Lincolns and what happened to them, where they worked, their offspring. Interesting that Robert was the only son who lived and lost his son. His two daughters married. The eldest, Mamie, had one son while Jessie, the youngest, had a son and a daughter. I don't believe any of these children had offspring and the well has run dry! Money and bad blood sort of diluted the Lincoln line anyway and any offspring remotely like Abe seemed to die in teen years before they married. The rest lived the life of the idle rich. I am now near the end of the book and Peg inherits Hildene which is the summer home in Vermont (Robert's family alternated between DC and Vermont at the end of his life). Peg never married. Linc never had children and the other brother (can't recall his name) seems to have had no children as well. Well during the '70's they all died out....end of story. As I wrote before, anyone remotely like Abe died. Robert's descendants carried out and none too successfully.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. [Warning: You may find a bit of a spoiler starting in the second paragraph, albeit not as big of a spoiler as this book itself.] I found this book disappointing. When reading a history book, I'm really looking for a recounting and analysis of historical events. I'm not looking for a retelling of family dynamics -- e.g. what kind of relationship did Robert Lincoln, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln's oldest son -- have with his mother. A while after I started reading this book, I noticed that the autho [Warning: You may find a bit of a spoiler starting in the second paragraph, albeit not as big of a spoiler as this book itself.] I found this book disappointing. When reading a history book, I'm really looking for a recounting and analysis of historical events. I'm not looking for a retelling of family dynamics -- e.g. what kind of relationship did Robert Lincoln, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln's oldest son -- have with his mother. A while after I started reading this book, I noticed that the author was a producer (or something like that) on the television show Inside Edition. And, ultimately, this is the kind of history I'd expect to show up on Inside Edition. Was Mary Todd Lincoln insane?!? Did Robert Todd Lincoln commit his eccentric mother to an insane asylum?!? Was Timothy Lincoln Beckwith, the final descendant in the Lincoln family tree, actually the illegitimate son of airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper?!? I credit the author for thoroughly researching the book ... it was filled with intricate details about the Lincoln family. Unfortunately, they're not the type of details I really care to hear about in a history book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    A very informative, and rather tragic, look into one of the most famous and remarkable American political families. Watching how this family went from the Great Emancipator to his three eccentric, layabout great-grandchildren was rather quite sad. It was also rather heart-wrenching to see both Tad Lincoln and Abraham "Jack" Lincoln II die so young, especially when they both held such promise. The good certainly do die young in this case. The first two-thirds of the book was all right, covering Mar A very informative, and rather tragic, look into one of the most famous and remarkable American political families. Watching how this family went from the Great Emancipator to his three eccentric, layabout great-grandchildren was rather quite sad. It was also rather heart-wrenching to see both Tad Lincoln and Abraham "Jack" Lincoln II die so young, especially when they both held such promise. The good certainly do die young in this case. The first two-thirds of the book was all right, covering Mary Todd Lincoln's eventful years after her husband's murder as well as Robert Lincoln's life. However, the last part of the book, covering mainly Jessie Lincoln's life as well as her children's and Mamie Lincoln's son felt rather haphazard, as though the author was in a hurry to finish up the book. And also, apparently Mamie Lincoln lived in obscurity for most of her life, because once she gets married, the author only mentions her occasionally. Everything focused on Jessie and her children. Even Mamie's son only got a little bit of attention.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bob Collins

    Fascinating story of Abraham Lincoln's immediate family and descendants. Over half the book is spent on Mary Todd Lincoln, her eccentricities, scandals, insanity trial and her continual difficulties with friends and family. This is also the story of Robert Todd Lincoln, Abe and Mary's oldest child, and the only one to survive into adulthood. Robert was swept along the tides of American history, a lawyer, a businessman,a tycoon in his day. His family name took him far and he seemed always on the Fascinating story of Abraham Lincoln's immediate family and descendants. Over half the book is spent on Mary Todd Lincoln, her eccentricities, scandals, insanity trial and her continual difficulties with friends and family. This is also the story of Robert Todd Lincoln, Abe and Mary's oldest child, and the only one to survive into adulthood. Robert was swept along the tides of American history, a lawyer, a businessman,a tycoon in his day. His family name took him far and he seemed always on the edge of great American events (he was standing next to President Garfield when Garfield was assassinated, for example). He was a private man and tried valiantly to stay out of the public eye - something his mother made continually difficult. Robert eventually had his mother tried for insanity (a charge which didn't stick, by the way) The book starts with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and ends with the last of the Lincoln great grandchildren dying in the early 1980's. This was a great read and difficult to put down. Both Meg and I highly recommend this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Renea

    This only gets a 3 because of the history involved that is often not discussed when President Lincoln is brought up. Although it is backed up with plenty of historic documentation and accounts from the times.. it is pretty boring, or at least long-winded. By the summary the book has potential to be something very interesting and something that I was excited to read. However it is very dry and almost too detailed. Although it is called "the Last Lincolns", the first 500 pages (*ebook version) are This only gets a 3 because of the history involved that is often not discussed when President Lincoln is brought up. Although it is backed up with plenty of historic documentation and accounts from the times.. it is pretty boring, or at least long-winded. By the summary the book has potential to be something very interesting and something that I was excited to read. However it is very dry and almost too detailed. Although it is called "the Last Lincolns", the first 500 pages (*ebook version) are pretty much all about Mary... that's a lot of pages to get through just about her. To be honest the reason I was most interested was because it mentions her stay in an insane asylum. Little did I know, that stay was only for 3 months and is all of a few pages in the book. So if you're into the Lincoln family and hardcore, detailed history then this book is for you.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Goldberg

    Couldn't put it down!!! Follow the Lincoln family bloodline into the 20th century. The last living Lincoln was Robert Todd Lincoln's great grandson Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith who married three times, died 1985. Beckwith was the oldest child of RTL's daughter Jessie from her first of three marriages. This book also follows the life and times of Mary Lincoln and her death. I found the best part of this book to be the success story of RTL with Pullman Car Co in Chicago. One of these days I plan to do Couldn't put it down!!! Follow the Lincoln family bloodline into the 20th century. The last living Lincoln was Robert Todd Lincoln's great grandson Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith who married three times, died 1985. Beckwith was the oldest child of RTL's daughter Jessie from her first of three marriages. This book also follows the life and times of Mary Lincoln and her death. I found the best part of this book to be the success story of RTL with Pullman Car Co in Chicago. One of these days I plan to do a walking tour of the Pullman area, as original structures are still accessible to visitors. The drama and characters of the Lincoln family after 1864 are quite unbelievable. Liked it so much I still re read parts of it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it to everyone, not just Lincoln and history buffs. Most of the book covers the period of time just after Lincoln's death: what happened to his surviving sons and wife, Mary. It gives a detailed account of Mary's financial and legal problems, which included her brief incarceration in a psychiatric hospital as a result of her oldest son's efforts to have her declared insane. The final chapters cover Lincoln's direct descendants until the death of his gr I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it to everyone, not just Lincoln and history buffs. Most of the book covers the period of time just after Lincoln's death: what happened to his surviving sons and wife, Mary. It gives a detailed account of Mary's financial and legal problems, which included her brief incarceration in a psychiatric hospital as a result of her oldest son's efforts to have her declared insane. The final chapters cover Lincoln's direct descendants until the death of his great-grandson in the early 1970's. There is lots of history here, but told in a narrative manner that makes it easy for everyone to enjoy. Highly recommend.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Yvette Kinney

    This book was well researched and written. It moved along fairly well with just a few areas where the reading bogged down. It is a very sad story, but one I am glad I read. I can't help but wonder how many of the family's tragedies were brought about by their own depressed, defeatist attitudes. The other area of personal weakness seemed to be the over elevated sense of superiority certain of the descendants felt. It tainted so many of the decisions and personal relationships causing all sorts of This book was well researched and written. It moved along fairly well with just a few areas where the reading bogged down. It is a very sad story, but one I am glad I read. I can't help but wonder how many of the family's tragedies were brought about by their own depressed, defeatist attitudes. The other area of personal weakness seemed to be the over elevated sense of superiority certain of the descendants felt. It tainted so many of the decisions and personal relationships causing all sorts of problems that lasted for years. I think Lincoln would have been very sad had he lived to see what his descendants devolved into.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    I traveled through Springfield, IL recently, and found the stop at the Lincoln Museum and Library a wonderful historical visit. There are many places of interest to stop and see all about our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. Since then, I am becoming a history buff on A. Lincoln. This book, "The Last Lincolns" is all new to me -- since not much has been written about the Lincoln family to the present time. In the authors note he says "The Last Lincolns is a compelling chronicle of the personal l I traveled through Springfield, IL recently, and found the stop at the Lincoln Museum and Library a wonderful historical visit. There are many places of interest to stop and see all about our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. Since then, I am becoming a history buff on A. Lincoln. This book, "The Last Lincolns" is all new to me -- since not much has been written about the Lincoln family to the present time. In the authors note he says "The Last Lincolns is a compelling chronicle of the personal legacy of the president who could unite a nation, but not his own family." It makes me obsessed to learn more. I highly recommend this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susi

    The book skips from chapter to chapter and you must follow that style of writing. So far, it is an amazing account of the tragic family life that Abraham Lincoln had, even while in the White House. There is some account of medical treatments that did not help his stricken son. It is a very sad story, I couldn't help but think his life was 'cursed'. Futher in the book, it reads a bit like a soap opera and as the Last of the Lincoln family becomes more modern, it saddens me. This just was a discour The book skips from chapter to chapter and you must follow that style of writing. So far, it is an amazing account of the tragic family life that Abraham Lincoln had, even while in the White House. There is some account of medical treatments that did not help his stricken son. It is a very sad story, I couldn't help but think his life was 'cursed'. Futher in the book, it reads a bit like a soap opera and as the Last of the Lincoln family becomes more modern, it saddens me. This just was a discourse on a very sad story. One that would have been very different had Abe lived.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Very sad ending to what was once a great family. Very sad to see the carelessness of the last generation. The book got a hit tedious for me in the beginning it went back and fourth it took you up to Lincoln ' s death then brought you back before he died, then later in the book I felt there was too much fuller, the author really tried to give information of what kinds of things were happening in the world which were sometimes interesting there was no connection to Lincoln history I would have giv Very sad ending to what was once a great family. Very sad to see the carelessness of the last generation. The book got a hit tedious for me in the beginning it went back and fourth it took you up to Lincoln ' s death then brought you back before he died, then later in the book I felt there was too much fuller, the author really tried to give information of what kinds of things were happening in the world which were sometimes interesting there was no connection to Lincoln history I would have given it 3 and a half stars if I could

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sonia

    I am still reading this but thus far a very interesting look at the Lincoln family dynamic and family turmoil going on through the civil war and his presidency. We just do not learn about this in school and not even at the graduate college level. But to get a glimpse of behind the scenes and in the family during that period brings a whole new dimension and level of understanding of Lincoln. I hold steadfast that this was the greatest president we ever had.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sue Hellige

    Since I'm an ongoing student of History- primarily of the Civil War Period, I was especially interested in reading this book to find out about Lincoln's descendants. What a sad story it was . For such a great man to have such ungrateful, and uncaring relatives bogles my mind. Not a one seemed to care about the issues their Namesake cherished nor displayed the humbleness he portrayed. Abraham Lincoln was truly "the last Lincoln".

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    A lot of information on Mary Todd and Robert T. Lincoln, not so much on the later generations. Understandable--much less public record and a lot of secrecy in those later generations. But disappointing to me, since I knew much of the info about Mary and Robert and it was really the later generations I was interested in. A few interesting tidbits, but a pretty low rate of return given the minutiae about Mary & Robert. A lot of information on Mary Todd and Robert T. Lincoln, not so much on the later generations. Understandable--much less public record and a lot of secrecy in those later generations. But disappointing to me, since I knew much of the info about Mary and Robert and it was really the later generations I was interested in. A few interesting tidbits, but a pretty low rate of return given the minutiae about Mary & Robert.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ilona Meagher

    The Lincoln family tree comes to life -- and death -- before your eyes with each turn of the page. Fascinating and so well written...but depressing, too. 19th century life could be quite perilous (esp concerning health), and the Lincolns go from one tragedy and/or scandal after another. That said, the book was filled with so much interesting detail and a number of surprises, too.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Although Robert Lincoln was Secretary of War and managed to be in vicinity of Garfield and McKinley assassination i don't think this would have rated a book without "the name." So, the dynasty didn't amount to much, and the better educated Robert was more traditional, conservative, and uninteresting than Abraham. Is that so surprising?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Having a love of women in history made this book wonderful for me. I was after a Lincoln book...a general start and found this one to try. This book tells a great deal about Mary Todd...as well as Mary Harlan (the daughter in law of Lincoln) so much so I am ready to read more. I found this book a historical book I couldn't wait to go back to to read each night.

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