From Publishers Weekly
This meticulous triple biography looks at Lincoln's three private secretaries, John Nicolay, John Hay and William O. Stoddard. Closer to Lincoln than almost anyone else, these trusted confidantes and advisers handled all of the president's correspondence, acted occasionally as spies and, between Nicolay and Hay, penned the most famous "authorized" biography of Lincoln. Though their experiences in Lincoln's administration cast a poignant, personable light on the great president's working life, Epstein's work is far from accessible. The level of detail regarding the three secretaries is exhaustive beyond the interest of anyone but devoted American history scholars. Author and historian Epstein (Lincoln and Whitman, The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage) has intimate knowledge of his subjects but little to drive the story beyond the chronological push of history; meandering from man to man, his narrative isn't cohesive enough to hook casual history readers. Though obsessive Lincoln enthusiasts in search of a new perspective may be fascinated, any number of Lincoln books will offer casual history buffs a more engaging examination.
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“Daniel Mark Epstein’s LINCOLN’S MEN is no book of dry facts and figures. Instead, it is an intimate portrait of Lincoln, so well-drawn that he seems to come alive on the page.” (Charleston Post & Courier)
“Epstein brings something of an outsider’s perspective to the hothouse world of Lincoln scholarship.” (New York Times Book Review)
Working at close quarters with Lincoln at the White House was an education in itself, as Daniel Mark Epstein observes” (Wall Street Journal)
“Sheds light on the remarkable young men who served at Lincoln’s side.” (Washington Times)
“Lincoln, like most presidents, worked long hours. Really, really long hours. So it makes sense the folks who knew him bestand who offer possibly the freshest perspective on his well-documented lifewere the guys he worked with every day of his presidency.” (Chicago Tribune)
“This is not your typical work of history. Epstein, a poet, employs a dreamy, novelistic tone in describing these young men and their tormented boss.” (USA Today)
“A fresh view.” (Albuquerque Journal)
“Captures the lives of Lincoln’s secretaries” (BookPage)
“An insider’s view of the [Lincoln] presidency...Nicolay and Hay wrote the diaries Lincoln never did, witnessing key moments from enviable vantage points.” (Courier-Journal)