Synopses & Reviews
Most books about Abraham Lincoln end on April 14, 1865, the day he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre. But that historic event takes place near the beginning of The Last Lincolns, a singular title in the vast output of Lincolnia and one of the most unusual books ever written on the sixteenth president and his family. Going far beyond that fateful day into uncharted territory, it's a gripping page turner written by a TV producer with proven storytelling skills.
This absorbing American tragedy tells the largely unknown story of the acrimony that consumed the Lincolns in the months and years that followed the president's murder. This was not a family that came together in mourning and mutual sadness; instead, they fell out over the anguished mental condition of the widowed Mary. In 1875, Robert--the handsome but resentful eldest Lincoln child--engineered her arrest and forcible commitment to an insane asylum. In each succeeding generation, the Lincolns' misfortunes multiplied, as a litany of alcohol abuse, squandered fortunes, burned family papers, and outright dissipation led to the downfall of this once-great family.
Charles Lachman traces the story right up to the last generation of Lincoln descendants: great-grandson Bob Lincoln Beckwith, his estranged wife, Annemarie, and her son, Timothy Lincoln Beckwith. Bob, who was according to all medical evidence sterile, believes the son who bears the Lincoln name was the product of an adulterous affair. Annemarie, however, wanted the boy to be a Lincoln, putting the child in line for a vast inheritance. There's even evidence--uncovered by Lachman for the first time--that a scheme to obtain possession of the Lincoln fortune was orchestrated by Bob Beckwith's chauffer, who may have been the notorious outlaw and skyjacker, D.B. Cooper.
Published in advance of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday in February 2009, The Last Lincolns provides an unforgettable glimpse into the personal legacy left by the man who could unite a nation...but not his own family. An Unusual Family History Reveals That:
-Abraham and Mary Lincoln were very lenient with their younger sons--and rarely imposed discipline on them.
-At age 12, young Tad Lincoln--whose education during the family's White House years was very lax--could still not read.
-Eldest son Robert Lincoln objected to the intense attention the media paid to the Lincoln family.
-After her husband's assassination, Mary Lincoln pleaded for financial assistance from family friends and people in government.
-Mary's erratic behavior led Robert to swear out a warrant for her arrest and institutionalization.
[B]rilliant.” New York Post
"[T]he history of his family after Lincolns assassination provides both historical and dramatic interest. ...Lincoln enthusiasts will ... find much to enjoy here."--Booklist
"[A] fascinating and well-researched family history ... [by] a skilled storyteller."--Publishers Weekly
"[A]n absorbing, well-researched account.
[A]n important and engaging contribution not just to the burgeoning field of Lincoln studies, but to our understanding of American social history." --Jean H. Baker, author of Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography
"[A] spellbinding account of Abraham Lincolns family." --Frank J. Williams, Founding Chair of The Lincoln Forum, and Chief Justice, Rhode Island Supreme Court
"[An] intimate portrait of decline. Throughout, the contrast between the great President and his descendantsliving lives of little social impact or public purposeis crystal clear." Kenneth D. Ackerman, author of Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield
Most books about Abraham Lincoln end with his assassination. Thats the day this book begins. The Last Lincolns tells the largely unknown tale of the familys fall from grace in the years and generations following the presidents murder. The storyrife with insanity, floods, fires, alcohol abuse, and squandered fortunesis brought right up to what may be the last generation of Lincoln descendants, providing an unforgettable glimpse into the personal legacy left by the man who could unite a nation, but not his own family. Plus: this beautiful new paperback edition includes a family tree.