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Lincoln's Other White House: The Untold Story of the Man and His Presidency Hardcover – September 1, 2005


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Lincoln's Other White House: The Untold Story of the Man and His Presidency + Lincoln's Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471485853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471485858
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"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


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Customer Reviews

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The authors does a great job weaving different aspects in his life throughout the chapters.
Robert G. Rosenthal
Everyone should read it, everyone will enjoy it. written by Malcolm Kelly, a Kentuckian proud or both Mr and Mrs Lincoln who were born in this state.
William P. Kelly Jr.
Lincoln's summer home...provides a suitable setting to describe Lincoln's activities outside the White House.
A. Graham Down

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Thomas L. Lalley on October 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have read a number of books on the Civil War in Washington...Fine as those books are, they do not accomplish two things that are splendid contributions of your book on the weekend home that the Lincolns made of their cottage at the Soldiers' Home.

First, we often forget the huge personal burden that the war place on Lincoln and his belief, strong in the summer of 1864, that he would be defeated in the next election and that the gains in the war would slip back into Southern control. We can see in your book how his days and nights in the cottage helped Lincoln to hold on to and expand what he had until victory in the 1864 election was assured.

The other is the loving relationship of the President with his wife, Mary Lincoln. We often hear of her oddities and running up of debts. What we do not hear of, and what admirably is stressed in your book, is what you describe as "the mutual affection and mutual dependence" that always linked them despite their great differences in character. Respect for Mary Lincoln, and her contributions to the greatness of Abraham Lincoln, is something we could use more of in writing American history.

I will not go on expect to say that I think I have already indicated the greatness of your book, and my hope that librarians and readers everywhere will have an opportunity to benefit from its revelations and the new light it brings on the life of one of our very greatest Presidents.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Graham Down on October 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It must be difficult-given the plethora of books on Lincoln-to shed new light on an old subject. However, Elizabeth Brownstein does. Through careful and thorough research, Ms. Brownstein addresses issues hitherto unexplored. Lincoln's summer home...provides a suitable setting to describe Lincoln's activities outside the White House. One learns, for instance, that the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation was completed here. One also learns that, far from being a retreat from the hustle and bustle of Pennsylvania Avenue, the home facilitated Lincoln's open-mindedness about receiving virtual strangers at virtually any hour of the day or night and resulted in serious sleep deprivation.

However, it was in the other topics addressed in the book that Lincoln's character is at its most illuminating. His fascination with weaponry, his patience in his dealings with his wife, and his ability to establish collegial relationship with people of vastly differing temperaments are all thoughtfully explored...The characters highlighted are dispassionately analyzed in such a way as to enable the reader to be part of the scene at all times. For instance, Lincoln's wife, so often pilloried...is given a fair hearing and is properly depicted as a courageous soul confronted by agonizing choices and exaggerated expectations of the First Lady's performance as a suitable consort of the most admired President in American History...Mrs. Brownstein provides a valuable service for readers interested in the less dramatic, but no less insightful, clues about Lincoln the President, confronted, as he was, by the unprecedented challenges associated with his era.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By V G. Smith on October 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I especially enjoyed the fresh approach to Lincoln and to his wife Mary Todd, who comes across in this new book as an elegant, urbane, and gracious `Republican Queen.' The account of the Lincolns' marriage and their home life at the White House and the Soldiers' Home, from observers such as the Union Army soldiers who guarded him for three years, is fascinating. The book is based on extensive research and is enriched by fresh anecdotes about Lincoln, by Whitman's and abolitionist Longfellow's poetry, and letters and memoirs of the diverse personalities with whom Lincoln interacted, particularly his generals and cabinet members.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By William P. Kelly Jr. on October 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The author has done a wonderful job showing what a real human being that Lincoln was. A friend of mine borrowed my book and liked it so well that

she went out and immediately bought 5 more to give as Christmas presents. It is just the right size for a gift book and so well written anyone will be proud to own it. I have also bought 6 more copies to give all my family for Christmas. Everyone should read it, everyone will enjoy it. written by Malcolm Kelly, a Kentuckian proud or both Mr and Mrs Lincoln who were born in this state.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donald A. Collins on January 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Washington, DC offers the visitor so much, but here is a unique option which I discovered to be extremely moving and educational. Having just observed the 200th birthday on February 12, 2009 of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, we think we know a lot about him. After all over 16,000 books have been written about his life and times.

However, my friend, a noted author of numerous historical subjects, Elizabeth Brownstein, led a small group of us on an adventure recently to an improbable place, now called the Armed Forces Retirement Home, located near the first US National Cemetery, which was filled by 1864 with so many Civil War dead it has closed and its successor cemetery at Arlington opened.

It was this first cemetery that for 13 months of his Presidency, Lincoln could view from his residence. No, not the White House, but his other White House. During his residency there, which he thought might be a respite from the actual White House, he could observe from his front window an average of 40 Union soldiers a day being buried there.

"Betty" Browstein, as she is known to friends, who arranged this tour of this historic house, has ably chronicled in her well received book, "Lincoln's Other White House: The Untold Story of the Man and His Presidency" a truly unique look at Lincoln and his family. To me the Civil War represents the greatest challenge ever to our Republic's survival (until now with our current immigration invasion crisis) and when she and our estimable guide described the life and times the Lincoln's led here, I often was close to tears.
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