From Publishers Weekly
Brownstein (If This House Could Talk)
compiles a detailed portrait of Lincoln's sojourns to the Soldiers' Home, a country residence on the grounds of a veterans' asylum three miles north of the White House, where he and his family spent several months a year from 1862 to 1864. This 160-year-old villa, declared a national monument in 2000, served as the Lincolns' refuge from Washington's oppressive summers, if not from a steady stream of visitors, the threat of Confederate kidnapping plots and the proximity of the Civil War battlefront. (They were "in hearing of cannonshot," Lincoln wrote.) Brownstein addresses familiar themes of the Lincoln presidency, including the solidity of his union with Mary Todd Lincoln. She also cites evidence for the site as the location of the drafting of the Emancipation Proclamation and chronicles both Lincoln's interactions with the free black household staff and escaped slaves housed in nearby camps. This laudatory account, commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help rescue the Lincoln Cottage from obscurity, is dense with excerpts from primary source material, if not with new ideas and analysis.
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"Elizabeth Smith Brownstein promises new material and perspectives beyond the familiar Lincolnalia and she delivers. Lincoln’s Other White House: The Untold Story of the Man and His Presidency
is an engrossing account of Lincoln that centers on the Soldiers Home, but ranges well beyond the presidential retreat to consider a variety of topics—his marriage, his views on emancipation and race, even his relationship with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. This is a significant contribution to the study of the man and to his times and place."
-- Jean Baker, Professor of History at Goucher College
"Only on occasion does the unceasing flow of new Lincoln titles yield a book of fresh insight and graceful prose. Lincoln's Other White House has that rare distinction. Elizabeth Brownstein vividly captures life at the Soldiers’ Home, where the Lincolns found relief from wartime and White House stress. More than an account of their summer residence, this book also offers lively vignettes and thoughtful assessments of the Union generals, cabinet offices, politicians, and friends who visited him there."
--Cullom Davis, Editor, Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln
"This vivid new book will finally help the Soldier's Home find its rightful place in the epic of Lincoln's life alongside the Kentucky log cabin in which he was born, the house in Springfield, Illinois that symbolized his rise from poverty, and the Executive Mansion from which he directed the war that kept the country from coming apart."
--Geoffrey C. Ward, author of The Civil War: An Illustrated History
"This valuable, enjoyable, and unusual book not only makes known the importance of the Soldiers’ Home in the Lincoln story, but also is loaded with anecdotes, characters, poems, episodes, parodies by humorists, facts that one did not know. It ranges widely in a lively presentation of the domestic Lincoln, and of the place he spent 13 months of his presidency. I read it with profit and pleasure and recommend it highly."
--William Lee Miller, author of Lincoln's Virtues: An Ethical Biography