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She had purchased trunkfuls of drapes to hang over phantom windows. 84 pairs of kid gloves in less than a month, and $3,200 worth of jewelry in the three months preceding Lincoln’s assassination…

If the Clintons put the fun in dysfunctional they surely took their cue from the Lincolns. Barely up from frontier barbarism and resettled in a town that was more mud streets and bordellos than a nation’s capital – where the capitol itself was still under construction using slave labor – they could have been the stars of Royal Nonesuch as staged by the duke and dauphin. Epstein must truly be a portrait painter in the abstract because very little in his picture can be sustained by reality.

The Lincolns : portrait of a marriage  New York : Ballantine Books, c 2008   Daniel Mark Epstein Lincoln, Mary Todd, 1818-1882 Marriage Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xii, 559 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Although the private lives of political couples have in our era become front-page news, the true story of this extraordinary and tragic first family has never been fully told. The Lincolns eclipses earlier accounts with riveting new information that makes husband and wife, president and first lady, come alive in all their garish excesses and crude humanity.

Epstein gives a fresh close-up view of the couple’s life in Springfield, Illinois (of their twenty-two years of marriage, all but six were spent there), and dramatizes with stunning immediacy how the Lincolns’ ascent to the White House brought both dazzling power and the slow, secret unraveling of the couple’s unique bond.

The first full-length portrait of the marriage of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in more than fifty years, The Lincolns is written to make two overly inflated American figures seem as real and human as the rest of us.


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