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The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage | [Daniel Mark Epstein]

The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage

In 1974 the historian Fawn Brodie predicted that a "sensitive study of the Lincoln marriage will not always defy biographers". Until now, it has. The only book-length treatment of the marriage was published in 1953, when scholars lacked today's resources and were still struggling with deep-seated prejudices about Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln. Now Daniel Mark Epstein has produced an incisive and balanced portrait of the Lincolns.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1974 the historian Fawn Brodie predicted that a "sensitive study of the Lincoln marriage will not always defy biographers". Until now, it has. The only book-length treatment of the marriage was published in 1953, when scholars lacked today's resources and were still struggling with deep-seated prejudices about Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln.

Now Daniel Mark Epstein has produced an incisive and balanced portrait of the Lincolns, from their mysterious and troubled courtship in 1840 to his assassination in Ford's Theatre in 1865. For the first time, we can feel the full force of the tragedy that was the slow crumbling of their marriage, knowing it intimately from the first act to the last.

©2008 Daniel Mark Epstein; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks America

What the Critics Say

"Intent on eroding the stereotype that Mary was mad and Abraham was saintly, Epstein utilizes some new sources to create a portrait of the Lincolns' marriage. In coolly objective tones, Adam Grupper narrates Epstein's detailed account of the couple's early years.... His informative reading fits the text well." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (79 )
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4.0 (34 )
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3.9 (33 )
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  •  
    Elizabeth Eugene, OR, USA 12-14-08
    Elizabeth Eugene, OR, USA 12-14-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating!"

    This was one of the most interesting books, full of historically accurate and intimate details, that I have ever "read." The lives of two individuals and their subsequent marriage, when the two people are as interesting in their own right as Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln, is immediately engaging. Toward the end, this book brought back vivid memories of a childhood trip to Washington D.C. and our visit to Ford's theater and the boarding house bedroom in which President Lincoln lay dying. The intensely personal view of Mary and Abraham and their relationship was so well written and narrated that when I finished listening, I could not wait to learn more. I went online and researched multiple topics about the Lincolns, Abraham Lincoln's assasination, burial in Springfield, and the available accounts of those involved in the assassination conspiracy. Of course, my next listen was another Audible offering, "Manhunt", the breathtaking account of the 12 day hunt for John Wilkes Booth. I highly recommend The Lincolns:Portrait of a Marriage for readers who enjoy American history or any biographical works. It will leave the reader anxious to know anything more that he or she can find out about this complex couple.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip GRANT, AL, United States 10-23-08
    Phillip GRANT, AL, United States 10-23-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Well Written"

    As the previous reviewer notes you will learn a lot about the personalities of Mary and Abraham Lincoln. This is an extremely well written work with a ton of historical facts. I would highly recommend this, you will not be disappointed.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ButterLegume Middletown, MD, United States 12-13-10
    ButterLegume Middletown, MD, United States 12-13-10

    Books on tape -- every commuter's friend. American history is my choice but then, in books, as in music, I'm all over the place.

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    "Enlightening and Fair"

    What comes through most in this lengthy and well-researched book, is that the author really doesn't like Mrs. Lincoln very much. Apparently, few did. I had no idea the trials and embarrassments that this kind man endured as he led his country into war.

    Very, very interesting and compelling. Well worth your time.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Austin, TX, United States 08-18-08
    Linda Austin, TX, United States 08-18-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Good!"

    I learned about the Lincolns' personalities that I did not know before. I thought it was well written and narrated.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angie Alvaton, KY, United States 03-10-12
    Angie Alvaton, KY, United States 03-10-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Wonderful but stopped at assassination"
    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I wish the author had continued to follow Mrs Lincoln after the assassination. I was looking so forward to that and was greatly disappointed at the abrupt end. She was so flawed that I knew after the President's calming influence had ended she would have been even more of a hellcat as her detractors described her.


    What does Adam Grupper bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I enjoyed his narration.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Southampton, MA, United States 01-02-10
    Cheryl Southampton, MA, United States 01-02-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Outstanding"

    Could not stop listening to it-great history lesson.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cjfquilts Denver, CO USA 03-31-09
    cjfquilts Denver, CO USA 03-31-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Interesting View"

    This is an interesting book. I have read much about the Lincoln and the Civil War but never from the viewpoint of his relationship with Mary Todd. Much has been made of Mary's state of mind after the asassination of Lincoln but this shows the basis of her state of mind and her devotion to her husband.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J Frances 02-06-13
    J Frances 02-06-13
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    "Excellent inside look"

    Fascinating look inside the relationship/marriage of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. I could not stop listening and in fact listened to it a second time so as not to miss anything. It let's us know that most of have stories to tell about our life and marriage, including the famous. I loved the humanness of Mr. Lincoln. I cannot wait to compare this to the current Lincoln movie when I see it. For those who love President Lincoln and need to know more, get this one.

    Listening to this Lincoln story has led me to The Madness of Mary Todd Lincoln.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 01-05-13
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 01-05-13 Member Since 2010
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    "American Gothic"

    It is difficult to conceive of circumstances more likely to strain a relationship than that endured by the Lincolns during their 22 year marriage, beset as they were by tragedies both personal and national. Add to this the unstable personality of Mary Todd and that of Lincoln who appears to have been prone to depression in an era predating any real understanding of psychiatry, and you have a portrait of a marriage of true affection and interdependence marred by periods of intense strife and mistrust.

    In some respects the Lincolns' marriage seems a microcosm of the Civil War which racked the nation during Lincoln's presidency. In both cases we can see a Lincoln committed to a union between two parties whom he believed belonged together--two parties who were stronger together than apart. And in both cases his compassion and affection far outweigh his frustration and anger at the "rebellious" party. As for Mary, despite her fears, insecurities and emotional/mental instability, we can see that her commitment to her husband and what he stood for was total, if at times misguided.

    The author does an excellent job of collecting all available evidence of the character of the Lincolns' relationship and the characters of Mary Todd as wife and Lincoln as husband. The book drags a bit in the years covering the period between the Lincolns' marriage and Lincoln's election as President, and the narration is serviceable though lackluster. Overall however, this book is recommended as an invaluable addition to our understanding of Lincoln, the man and the President, and of the darkest years of United Sates history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 08-27-12
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 08-27-12 Member Since 2011

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The down and dirty on their Marriage."
    Where does The Lincolns rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This ranks near the top. An in depth view on what made the Lincoln's tick. Lincoln was away so much of the marriage that Mary instead of becoming more independent, made her sons and neighbors take care of her.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mary was the belle of the ball, but once she made a choice on who to marry her life did not match her expectations. She continually acted out in order to get her husband's attention, either by purchasing huge amounts of clothes and furnishings, or making friends with ruthless men who took advantage of her weaknesses.
    The death of her son Willie was the unmaking of Mary. I don't think she was ever able to get over the fact of his death.


    What about Adam Grupper’s performance did you like?

    He had just the right nuances to the characters.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Too long to listen all at once. I enjoy an hour or two at a time to listen to books.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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