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Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln Hardcover – March 27, 2012
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“Mr. Emerson’s impressive research and eye for detail yield dozens of. . .interesting though little-known historical tidbits. His writing is enjoyable and accessible...” —Wall Street Journal
“A fine addition to shelves of historians and Lincoln aficionados.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Well written and well researched, this book should. . .become the go-to book on the life of this interesting son of a former president. Highly recommended.”—Choice
“I found this book gripping, ingeniously argued, and exhaustively investigated. I could not put it down. . . . .And I suspect that every reader with an interest in Lincoln will feel exactly the same way. For me, and for them, this book will become an essential item in the history of the era in a way that Robert himself, try as Emerson does, can never be. Emerson reminds us at the outset that Robert Lincoln never wanted to be the subject of a biography. Well, like it or not, he has one now—and a fine one, too.” —Civil War Monitor
“‘Robert’s life is a fantastic journey through a rich period of American history,’ writes Jason Emerson. And it is to his great credit as a biographer and historian that he so successfully brings Robert T. Lincoln out of history’s shadows and the times in which he lived back to vivid life.” —The American Spectator
“Emerson’s biography of Robert Todd Lincoln is set within the context of Gilded Age culture, which was vastly different from that during the Civil War. His extensive and fresh research, as well as his inclusion of many never-before-seen photographs, should make this account one of choice for both scholars and Lincoln enthusiasts.”—America’s Civil War
“Jason Emerson, the premier young Lincoln scholar today, has written the definitive biography of one of America’s neglected and misunderstood leaders in both 19th- and 20th-century industry, law and politics. Beautifully written and illustrated, this is one of the best Lincoln books to appear in many years.”—Wayne C. Temple, author of Abraham Lincoln: From Skeptic to Prophet
“Here at last is the biography Lincoln aficionados have been waiting for. Historian Jason Emerson sweeps away a century of myths and misinformation about Robert T. Lincoln, including the musty old canard that he had no respect for his famous father and no sympathy for his emotionally fragile mother. This is an intimate, in-depth portrait that will be praised, quoted, and consulted for years to come.”—Thomas J. Craughwell, author of Stealing Lincoln’s Body
“This path-breaking biography tells the story of Lincoln’s only surviving son: a man utterly unlike his father in talent and temperament, yet who nonetheless found his own way to national prominence. Contemporaries of this reticent yet extraordinarily successful figure often referred to him as ‘Lincoln’s Silent Son.’ Now, thanks to Emerson’s thorough scholarship, Robert T. Lincoln is silent no more.”—Nora Titone, author of My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy
About the Author
Jason Emerson is a journalist and an independent historian who has been researching and writing about the Lincoln family for nearly 20 years. He is a former National Park Service park ranger at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, in Springfield, Illinois. His previous books include The Madness of Mary Lincoln (SIU Press, 2007—named Book of the Year by the Illinois State Historical Society), Lincoln the Inventor (SIU Press, 2009), and The Dark Days of Abraham Lincoln’s Widow, as Revealed by Her Own Letters (SIU Press, 2011). He lives near Syracuse, New York.
Top Customer Reviews
Jason Emerson has written a book in clear prose that will help many better understand the one child of Abraham and Mary Lincoln who led a full life. Robert T. Lincoln was not a draft dodger during the Civil War, he was close to his father, he was not unkind to his mother, he was a success in his own right, he did many things to protect his father's papers and historical representations (for example, in paintings and sculpture).
While Mr. Emerson goes slightly overboard in his admiration of Robert T. Lincoln, he nonetheless provides much solid evidence to the kindness, judgement, and abilities of this former secretary of war, diplomat, and captain of industry.
In this well written and easy to read biography Emerson chronicals the life of Abraham Lincoln's only son who survived to adulthood. At the time of his death in 1926 Robert Lincoln was the last living witness to the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. He was a man that could easily have been president or vice president, senator or any other office, but he chose to pick his positions. And those he selected he did with great pride and often with great achievement.
Like his father, who never recovered from the death of his son Willie, the death of Robert's son Jack was a turning point in his life. Having been connected with the assassinations of of father, and Presidents Garfield and McKinley, it is ironic that he was ultimately buried in Arlington National Cemetery in view of the JFK gravesite.
For Lincoln scholars, students of the Civil War or readers who are interested in America during the late 19th and early 20th century, this book is well worth reading. It reveals a very different side of the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and how Robert sought to create an image of his father that maintained his dignity and honor. Had Robert Todd Lincoln been a different person, we might all be seeing a different image of Abraham Lincoln.
History has often been vague in regard to R.L.T.'s relationship with both of his parents. This book goes a long way to define his close relationship with his father and his protective stance toward his mother. It also details a very long and varied career as an attorney, businessman, statesman, very public figure, and a person in his own right who managed to step away from the long shadow of his illustrious father.
This book also manages to provide detailed information about both Lincoln and Todd ancestors and the direct line from Robert Lincoln and Mary Harlan which is now extinct. It is very well written and researched and effectively defines Robert Lincoln.
He was born in a boarding house in the 1840s and died in a mansion in the 1920s. Robert Todd Lincoln saw much of and made some of America's history in the late Nineteen Century.
Jason Emerson gives us a scholarly and readable biography of a remarkable person. The book concentrates on Lincoln's public life in business and politics.
The author tells us about his private life but never descends into gossip or speculation. The only real exception is Lincoln's relationship with his mother.
For very good reasons, Robert T. Lincoln committed Mary Todd Lincoln to a sanitarium (asylum).
The press had a field day at his expense creating a very public embarrassment that still colors the public's views. The part of the book is very detailed.
The events leading up to the hearing, the hearing, the press' reaction, the solution and Mary's feelings to Robert are treated fairly.
Protecting his father's memory and managing the public record consumed large amount of Lincoln's time.
He was very protective of his father's papers, working to control what is said and who said it was not an easy task.
Part of this work was managing Lincoln's body. From the burial site, the structure of tomb and protecting the body from kidnappers is a constant effort.
While doing this, Lincoln managed to become a well-respected Chicago lawyer, Secretary of War, Minister to England and chairman of the Pullman Car Company.
An active Republican, he is mentioned as a possible candidate for President at multiple conventions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really did enjoy reading this book. I was in the dark about Robert Lincoln's life, and this book provided many interesting details about his life and his entire family, up to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Bryant Martin
Robert Lincoln was a giant in American history who goes unrecognized by many today. He had the distinction of being Abraham Lincoln's son that would have crushed and destroyed... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Rick Mayo
A long overdue, very well researched and detailed presentation of a remarkable man so overshadowed by his father.Published 9 months ago by WandaLou
The most compete bio of an important yet enigmatic figure. A real late 19th century influencePublished 10 months ago by arthur risdell
I noticed several grammatical errors in this book. It shows what a good but very different person Robert Lincoln was when compared to his father. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Robert M. Delong
Wonderfully written account of an amazingly patient and kind man, who had so much more to deal with in one life time than most. Read morePublished 11 months ago by beryl mullen
A fascinating and very readable biograhy of Robert Lincoln.Published 12 months ago by Steven Vesely