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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent family saga, November 17, 2008
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This review is from: The Last Lincolns: The Rise & Fall of a Great American Family (Hardcover)
This is a well written, compelling history of the heirs of Abraham Lincoln to the present day. Beginning with a long flashback to the Lincoln White House, it proceeds through Mary Lincoln's unending grief and monetary travails following the assassination, culminating in her insanity trial; the wretched deaths of Tad Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln II; the three marriages of Jessie Lincoln, Abraham's younger granddaughter, and the unedifying lives of Abraham's three great-grandchildren.

It was curious to me that Robert Todd Lincoln, Lincoln's only surviving son, felt the obligation to live up to the Lincoln name and legacy, but, Lincoln's other surviving heirs seemed to feel no particular burden (frequently expressing annoyance when the relationship to Abraham was pointed out, and taking no pride in the association). The great-grandchildren lived their lives as they pleased -- Jessie Lincoln Beckwith even telling her son Bob, don't worry about learning a profession since you'll never have to work! The vast monetary trust established by Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife for their heirs was the curse on his descendants.

I found this book hard to put down, although the relentlessly tragic turns in the lives of some of Lincoln's heirs could be difficult to read. The life story of the final heir, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, was particularly unpleasant, and one can only be thankful that he had no children. It was a slow and sad decline from the worthiness of Abraham Lincoln to the dubious character of Bob Beckwith, but this author makes it worth reading.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 9, 2008, 9:28:17 PM PST
I have ordered this book. And I will be anxious to see how Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith is treated. Especially on the issue of whether he had any children. The history of Timothy Lincoln Beckwith, born October 14, 1968, will be anticipated. Huppert cbh@iquest.net

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2008, 3:03:54 PM PST
SusieQ says:
Hi Charles: I think you will enjoy this book, it's a very involving read. I found the chapters on Mary Todd Lincoln very moving. The poor woman was completely traumatized by Lincoln's violent death and just couldn't recover. There's a full chapter on the twisted later life of Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith and full summary of the parentage of Timothy Lincoln Beckwith. It should answer all your questions. Best wishes, --Susie
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