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Mourning Lincoln Hardcover – February 24, 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Beautiful and terrible, Hodes’s marvelously written story of the assassination fills the mind, heart and soul. People never forgot the event; this book is a page-turner that makes it all unforgettable again as it also explains how one shocking death illuminated so many others.”—David W. Blight, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory
(David W. Blight)

“There are many books on the Lincoln assassination and the public response to it.  But Martha Hodes’s work is the first to focus in great detail on the responses of ordinary individuals, Northern and Southern, white and black, soldiers and civilians, women and men, in their diaries and personal correspondence, and to blend such response into the larger story of public events.  The amount of research is simply staggering.  This is a highly original, lucidly written, book.”—James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom
(James McPherson)

Mourning Lincoln is an original and important book that traces various reactions to Lincoln’s assassination. Through extensive research, Martha Hodes has discovered voices that are both moving and surprising.  The result is an illuminating work that allows us for the first time to understand fully the meaning of Lincoln’s death at the time.”—Louis P. Masur, author of Lincoln's Hundred Days
(Louis P. Masur)

"Drawing on a remarkable range of diaries, letters, and other contemporary documents, Martha Hodes offers a compelling and moving account of how Americans, black and white, North and South, responded to Lincoln's assassination.  The result is a portrait of a deeply divided country and a foreshadowing of the violent battles to come over reunion and Reconstruction."—Eric Foner, author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery and Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877
(Eric Foner)

"In Mourning Lincoln, Martha Hodes' ingenious approach and graceful execution succeed in deepening our knowledge of a calamity that will never fully end."—THOMAS MALLON, author of Henry and Clara and Mrs. Paine's Garage
(Thomas Mallon)

“This book is a timely reminder that wars rarely end on the battlefield. Through the lens of Lincoln’s death, Martha Hodes vividly portrays a scarred and bitter nation that has laid down its arms yet embarked on a conflict that endures 150 years after Appomattox.”—TONY HORWITZ, author of Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War
(Tony Horwitz)

“A stunning piece of research, based on an extraordinary range of materials often overlooked by traditional historians.”—Michael Burlingame, The Wall Street Journal
(Michael Burlingame The Wall Street Journal)

“[A] lyrical and important new study.”—Jill Lepore, The New York Times Book Review
(Jill Lepore The New York Times Book Review)

“This is a book full of things you think you know—and the opposite. The author has discovered much that is new and unknown.”—Liz Smith, NewYorkSocialDiary.com
(Liz Smith NewYorkSocialDiary.com)

“An intimate, bracing account.”—Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post
(Carlos Lozada The Washington Post)

Selected as a long list finalist for the 2015 National Book Awards for Nonfiction.
(National Book Awards National Book Foundation 2015-09-16)

A Wall Street Journal Best Nonfiction Book of 2015
(Wall Street Journal)

Winner of the 2016 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize. The prize was co-founded and endowed by businessmen and philanthropists of the Gilber Lehrman Institute of American History in New York and co-creators of the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the largest private archives of documents and artifacts in the nation.
(Lincoln Prize Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History 2016-02-16)

Winner of the 2016 Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians.
(Avery O. Craven Organization of American Historians 2016-04-11)

From the Author

What led you to write a book about personal responses to Lincoln’s assassination?

I was in New York City on September 11, 2001, and I remember the moment of Kennedy's assassination from my childhood. As a historian of the Civil War era, and as someone who lived through those two modern-day transformative events, I wanted to know not only what happened in 1865 when people heard the news of Lincoln’s death but also what those responses meant.
 
Did anything surprise you during your research?

Almost everything. Not only did I find a much wider array of emotions and stories than I'd imagined, I also found that even those utterly devastated by the assassination easily interrupted their mourning to attend to the most mundane aspects of everyday life. I also found myself surprised by the unabated virulence of Lincoln's northern critics and the way Confederates simultaneously celebrated Lincoln's death and instantly—on the very day he died—cast him as a fallen friend to the white South.
 
Do personal responses to Lincoln's assassination tell a larger story about American history?

Very much so. The assassination provoked personal responses that were deeply intertwined with different and irreconcilable visions of the postwar and post-emancipation nation. Black freedom, the fate of former Confederates, and the future of the nation were at stake for all Americans, black and white, North and South, whether they grieved or rejoiced when they heard the news.

Praise for Mourning Lincoln

“There are many books on the Lincoln assassination and the public response to it.  But Martha Hodes’s work is the first to focus in great detail on the responses of ordinary individuals, Northern and Southern, white and black, soldiers and civilians, women and men, in their diaries and personal correspondence, and to blend such response into the larger story of public events.  The amount of research is simply staggering.  This is a highly original, lucidly written, book.”—James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom
 
“Beautiful and terrible, Hodes's marvelously written story of the assassination fills the mind, heart and soul.  People never forgot the event; this book is a page-turner that makes it all unforgettable again as it also explains how one shocking death illuminated so many others.”—David W. Blight, Yale University
 
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (February 24, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030019580X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300195804
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ionia Froment TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 24, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Truly one of the best "Lincoln Books" that I have had the pleasure of reading.

Rather than just showing the side of America (and the world at large) that felt sorrow for the loss of the sixteenth president, this author researched, learned and wrote a book that shows both sides of the after effects the death of Lincoln had.

Whilst some were angry, disbelieving and sorrowful over the new of the president's assassination, others were jubilant, relieved or even boastful. This book defines the boundaries between the belief systems of the North and South in a way that I have seen no other book attempt.

Through a multitude of first person accounts, the author manages to paint a picture of the American public after the death of Lincoln and show the reader what was really happening in the minds and hearts of those who survived the event.

From describing the feeling of some that mourning the loss of the president was a collective effort of everyone, to the reality that it was not, the author does a brilliant job of recounting history.

I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who is looking for further information about Lincoln, and the period after his death. A smartly researched, intelligently written book.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mourning Lincoln by Dr. Martha Hodes of YU is a remarkable piece of scholarship. Hodes has poured over one thousand letters, diaries, newspapers and books of the era to focus on how the assassination of President Lincoln Abraham on April 14, 1865 affected the American public. Her work sheds new light on the ways the first assassination of an American POTUS was perceived. Among her findings":
a. Lincoln was mourned widely throughout the North. At least one million persons were able to glance at Lincoln in his casket as the train carrying him to a final burial in Springfield Illinois made its somber journey.
b. The death of Lincoln was deeply lamented by recently freed African-Americans.
c. Most White Southerners rejoiced at the demise of Lincoln except those whose believed Lincoln s death would mean a harsher reconstruction under his successor Andrew Johnson.
d. Northern groups such as the anti-emancipation group the Copperheads were glad Lincoln was dead.
5. In countless sermons the late martyred POTUS was compared with Jesus Christ. Many African-Americans viewed Lincoln as a new Moses.
6. Despite grief most Americans had to continue working each day in the onerous duties of nineteenth century household management and making a living.
7. Soldiers were mostly sad at the murder of Lincoln and sought revenge against Southerners for the assassination.
8. Violence against blacks and those who refused to mourn Lincoln were manifest in every part of the land.
9. Many white southerners considered John Wilkes Booth the assassin as a hero of the South.
10. Mary Lincoln was devastated by the murder of her husband and never recovered from the deep grief she suffered.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Mourning Lincoln", Martha Hodes's new book about the aftermath of Lincoln's assassination, offers a revealing look on how Lincoln's death played out through a prism of grief and disgust. Centering around one couple from Massachusetts and an individual male from Florida, the author delves into many aspects of how the nation treated Lincoln's passing. It's a wonderful read.

Quoting a variety of snippets from letters and diaries, we come to see how people reacted when they heard the news and what then followed. The divides not only covered feelings of north and south, but also black and white and men and women. Needless to say, the reactions ranged from deep sorrow from Lincoln followers to venom from his opponents, but Hodes constructs her book to let actual people "talk". With that she gives color to the history that unfolded.

The big question that looms is "why?" Why was Lincoln killed, who really killed him and what did it mean for the nation. Other than the assassin, John Wilkes Booth, many thought that slavery was the undoubted reason. A large number of northern whites, consumed in grief, believed, however, that black men and women suffered the most with Lincoln's death. In the south, after rejoicing at the news, citizens there turned to what would happen next. The pages concerning President Andrew Johnson and his views on Reconstruction are as eye-opening as the book gets. How different from Lincoln they felt he was.

In a few prescient observations, future president James Garfield (who was to be assassinated sixteen years later) wrote to his wife that talking about money or business at the very time was a sacrilege.
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Format: Hardcover
Synopsis: We all know that our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated by South sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth, but what was our nation's reaction to this tragedy on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line?

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: As someone who has read several hundred books on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, I had always wondered about the reaction to Lincoln's assassination by John Wilkes Booth. The material that I read had never done a deep study of it...until now.

I found this book to be incredibly well developed through the research that this author done. This book is loaded with first person accounts, as well as quotes from both the North and South. The author did an excellent job in not presenting a bias (which is one thing I always look for in the works I review), she had a nice balance of both outrage and support of the assassination. The author managed to accomplish this in a book that flowed well and was inviting to its readers.

While I wouldn't call this book the best book ever written on our 16th President or that period of time in US history, I would state that it is on my top twenty for engagement of readers and the depth and quality of the research.

Source: Netgalley for publisher

Would I recommend? : Already have done so to numerous Lincoln enthusiasts, as well as library acquisitions.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone
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