Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography

Jean H. Baker

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Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography

Mary Todd Lincoln A Biography In this elegant biography Jean Baker uses previously untapped sources to portray the troubled wife of Abraham Lincoln Photographs

  • Title: Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography
  • Author: Jean H. Baker
  • ISBN: 9780393024364
  • Page: 347
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In this elegant biography, Jean Baker uses previously untapped sources to portray the troubled wife of Abraham Lincoln Photographs.

    • Free Read [Poetry Book] ß Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography - by Jean H. Baker Â
      347 Jean H. Baker
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      Posted by:Jean H. Baker
      Published :2018-05-26T11:18:07+00:00

    One thought on “Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography

    1. BAM The Bibliomaniac on said:

      Let me preface this by saying I really give this book 3.5 stars. I think the author really worked at trying to make Mrs. Lincoln a likeable personality, and that's just not possible. Having said that, here is my reviewPage one and she's already accused of being a shrew and a termagant. I kept waiting for harpy. By the age of seven, she had already suffered the following: the loss of family place to a first born son; the death of a infant brother; the loss of her middle name, Ann, to a new sister [...]

    2. Susan on said:

      This is a well-written and absorbing biography of one of America's most controversial first ladies. Baker does an excellent job of putting Mary's story in the context of her place and time, and she has a dry sense of humor that made this particularly readable.The only reason I didn't give this five stars was the author's treatment of two figures: Mary's daughter-in-law, Mary Harlan Lincoln, and Mary's son, Robert Lincoln. Baker suggests that Mary Harlan Lincoln was a closet alcoholic and that th [...]

    3. Nancy on said:

      Historian Jean Baker thinks it's just too easy to turn Mary Todd Lincoln into the First Lady we love to hate. She sets out to provide a social, psychological, and feminist context for understanding Mary's childhood, marriage, motherhood, and widowhood, and it is a very powerful story. Mary was one of 14 children in what these days would be called a blended family. Her mother died when she was young and so she was raised by a stepmother, who she was constantly at odds with. Her father, often away [...]

    4. Judy on said:

      I read this for one of my reading groups. I was looking forward to reading it but it is written in a scholarly tone, which made it difficult to get through even 40 pages in a day. I did learn more than I knew before about Abraham Lincoln's wife but my attachment to this much maligned First Lady was born when I read the historical novel Love Is Eternal by Irving Stone, the #3 bestseller of 1954. That novel brought her alive.Baker applied psychology as it was understood in the 1980s and attempted [...]

    5. Kelly on said:

      The Lincolns are not even in the White House yet and I am annoyed with this author. She tends to belittles Mary Lincoln often. I realize MTL is not a woman loved by history, but I find the author's assertion that MTL's political interests "displayed a quirky feminism located not in principle but in the psychological necessity to be somebody" o be dismissive. MTL was very well educated -- she had 12 years of formal schooling -- maybe her interest in politics was born of a working mind in need of [...]

    6. Leah on said:

      This is the first book I've ever read about Mary Todd. I found the history fascinating and I now realize what a difficult life Mary really had.

    7. Karyl on said:

      Mary Todd Lincoln was a complex woman, too often dismissed as "insane" because she was institutionalized by her one surviving son, Robert Todd Lincoln, though she only spent three months at a sanitarium. Her son's reasons for institutionalizing her included her belief in mediums who could contact her dead husband and children, and her incessant buying of needless items. Of course, in modern times, this would not be nearly enough to institutionalize anyone, yet it was a fairly common thing in the [...]

    8. Monk on said:

      My problems with this book are legion, but I'll highlight just a few.First, Baker's perspective is limited, as she clearly is writing a "feminist" history of Mary Todd Lincoln, and her diatribes become both tiresome and tortured. Her "logic" goes like this: 19th century society treated women badly because they were women. Mary Todd Lincoln lived in the 19th century. She was treated badly. Therefore, she was treated badly because she was a woman. That thinking is far too simplistic, but it is at [...]

    9. Noelle M on said:

      I thought the book was a real tour de force in the biography writing genre. Baker's thesis is that in childhood, the maternally orphaned Mary Lincoln developed a narcissistic personality in response to being rejected by her stepmother who wanted the husband's first family to just go away. Mary needed and didn't get normal attention so she found other means to get what she needed. Admittedly narcissism is a "broken" strategy for solving emotional problems, a childish strategy. The original proble [...]

    10. Alan Jacobs on said:

      One of the finest biographies I've ever read. Totally changed my perception of Mary Todd Lincoln. The author is not an apologist for Mrs. Lincoln: she lays out the details of all her notorious extravagances, and recounts every one of her public outbursts. However, the author always puts Mrs. Lincoln's utterances extravagances in the context of how Mary became an educated woman at a time when most women only had a rudimentary education, and then how she never received the respect, or even the cor [...]

    11. Kelly on said:

      We have all been told that Mary Todd Lincoln was a crazy first lady. Reading 'Mary Todd Lincoln', you see a side of Mary Todd that is rarely told. She had a higher education than most women and some men of her day. She was very interested in politics and in the book many people describe her as lively and intelligent. She was fiercely loyal to her husband and her children. I found reading about how the Lincoln's raised their children to be endearing. They did not have a heavy hand and treasured t [...]

    12. Sarah Finch on said:

      A superb and thorough biography of a fundamentally misunderstood woman. Though the movie "Lincoln" did a good deal to humanize Mary Todd Lincoln after generations of traditional history painted her as a hysterical shrew who made her husband miserable, Baker clearly delineates between the poisoned pens of early historiographers and the documentary evidence that shows a woman in full -- imperfect, neurotic, narcissistic, overbearing but also intelligent, beloved by her husband, and a woman whose a [...]

    13. Kela on said:

      I wanted to read a book on Mary Todd Lincoln after visiting the Lincoln home and presidential museum this summer. This book is considered the definitive biography on the former first lady, but I found it a bit dry at times. The first few chapters were hard to get through. I get it that she came from a very prominent family that played a major role in the founding of Lexington. I don't need several chapters completely bogged down in details to get that point across. Adding to the confusion was th [...]

    14. Bob on said:

      Everyone who grows up in central Illinois, 100 miles from Springfield, more or less accepts Abe Lincoln as almost a distant relative. Lincoln is EVERYWHERE -- places he stayed, court houses where he tried cases, locations where he gave a speech, and on and on. But Mary Todd? She is always pegged as the hugh strung wife, somebody who could not get along with anybody. Never seems like a proper match for Mr Lincoln.After reading this biography, which felt to be very well researched and factual, it [...]

    15. Doug Nagel on said:

      This was an excellent biography. Jean Baker provides a thorough psycho-social profile of Mary Todd Lincoln, highlighting the early family influences and abandonments that shaped her character, ambition and well-documented idiosyncracies. Tracing her life from her Lexington, Kentucky roots, Baker emphasizes her unusual interest in politics, Mary Todd's academic achievements at a time when education for women was denigrated and her desire to marry someone who would elevate her social standing in t [...]

    16. Brenda on said:

      I was inspired to learn more about Mary Todd Lincoln after watching the new Spielberg movie "Lincoln" (I also want to learn more about Thaddeus Stevens). This biography is extremely readable (more readable imho than the acclaimed book the movie was based on). I LOVE non-fiction that reads like fiction and this almost qualifies. Baker provides a balanced portrait of Mary. She's neither heroine nor villain. She is portrayed as intelligent, emotional, ambitious and insecure. Baker believes that Mar [...]

    17. Kathy on said:

      This is an interesting examination of a very misunderstood former first lady. Jean Baker provides a sympathetic look at Mary Todd Lincoln as a bright, educated upper-class young woman from Lexington, Kentucky who struggles with much loss over the years and finally must defend her sanity and deal with the strained relationship with her only surviving son. Politics were a significant part of the Lincoln marriage and Mary Todd Lincoln's challenges with her role as first lady is a particularly fasci [...]

    18. Ashley on said:

      A great look into a complicated life of a woman who had very delicate emotions. A lady who had so much loss in her life and who tried to bear with it as best as she knew how, while trying to convince people she was not insane but just very emotional. There is nothing so sad as to see her own son dislike his own parents and want to hide his mother away for fear of embarassment to himself. Touching story of love, loss and redemption of oneself.

    19. Linda on said:

      Mary Todd Lincoln has always been an enigma to me. I've vacillate between thinking that she was down right crazy (as her son Robert apparently thought) and that she was simply a woman with a major personality disorder - manifested throughout her life by her bizarre and eratic behavior. Whichever the case, she was most definitely a tragic figure - one who also played a key role in the life of one of our most admired presidents. If you have an interest in her, it's definitely worth the read.

    20. Anna on said:

      Ik probeer biografieën te lezen van Amerikaanse presidentsvrouwen. Ik zocht naar aanleiding van de recente films rond Lincoln naar een goede biografie. Dit was het beste dat ik kon vinden en eigenlijk niet de moeite van het lezen waard. Wel goed gedocumenteerd maar zeer matig geschreven. Geen aanrader.

    21. Cornmaven on said:

      Pair this with the novel, Mary, by Janice Newman, for a really thought-provoking study of Mrs. Lincoln, as well as what society was like in the 19th century.I found it heart-breaking that her son never accepted her. Mary Lincoln's story is a tragic one, and fascinating.

    22. ☯Emily on said:

      This is a very readable book about Abe Lincoln's wife and her tortured life. Today we have drugs that would help her with her fears and depression, but in the 1800's, there was no sympathy for her and the many issues she faced. This book was written with sympathy and understanding.

    23. Karen on said:

      An honest look at a woman who is often portrayed unsymphathetically but we learn there are 2 sides to every story.

    24. Darlene on said:

      The author in her preface stated that she "wanted to view her life from her own perspective, not one that developed from the unfavorable comments of her critics". This book led to very intense discussions in my 1st Ladies book club. All of us knew about Mary Todd Lincoln's "madness" but our opinion of her definitely changed after reading Jean Baker's carefully presented facts for her behavior. We discussed at length her relationships with her children, her husband and her surrounding man/womanki [...]

    25. Chris on said:

      I put this on my 'to read' list after "Lincoln" by Spielberg and this is a very well written bio of someone who everyone has heard of but not really much is known. But my god this woman had a hard life. Mother died at 6, dad remarried to a step-monster when she was 8when she got married she went from living in mansion to a boarding house and spoiler alerther husband gets killed. After that 3 of her 4 sons die and her last remaining son has hermitted.oh, and she wears 'widows weeds' from Abe's de [...]

    26. Rita Mercs on said:

      A good book about the living/social conditions in the 1800s and an informative book about the first lady during the Civil War. Mary Todd Lincoln was a very strange first lady (either bipolar or borderline personality disorder).

    27. Susan J. Shirley on said:

      Get a DictionaryA pretty good read. My only problem with the author was the huge and unheard of words that she used in every other sentence. I got tired of using the dictionary! I learned a lot of things about the First Lady that I 'd never read about before.

    28. LILLIAN C. KNOCKE on said:

      Mrs. Mary Todd LincolnA visit to unknown and forgotten history. A very extensive experience in the Lady and family of the Lincolns. Must read

    29. Kathy on said:

      This was a very interesting read. Mary Lincoln certainly had a very difficult and traumatic life, with far more losses than any one person should have to bear.

    30. Lynette Lark on said:

      I felt sorry for Mary Todd but I felt worse for her husband.

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