Lincoln's Sanctuary

Lincoln's Sanctuary : Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home

3.86 (126 ratings by Goodreads)
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After the heartbreaking death of his son Willie, Abraham Lincoln and his family fled the gloom that hung over the White House, moving into a small cottage outside Washington, on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home, a residence for disabled military veterans. In Lincoln's Sanctuary, historian Matthew Pinsker offers a fascinating portrait of Lincoln's stay in this cottage and tells the story of the president's remarkable growth as a national leader and a private man. Lincoln lived at the Soldiers' Home for a quarter of his presidency, and for nearly half of the critical year of 1862, but most Americans (including many scholars) have not heard of the place. Indeed, this is the first volume to specifically connect this early "summer White House" to key wartime developments, including the Emancipation Proclamation, the firing of McClellan, the evolution of Lincoln's "Father Abraham" image, the election of 1864, and the assassination conspiracy. Through a series of striking vignettes, the reader discovers a more accessible Lincoln, demonstrating what one visitor to the Soldiers' Home described as his remarkable "elasticity of spirits." At his secluded cottage, the president complained to his closest aides, recited poetry to his friends, reconnected with his wife and family, conducted secret meetings with his political enemies, and narrowly avoided assassination attempts. Perhaps most important, he forged key friendships that helped renew his flagging spirits. The cottage became a refuge from the pressures of the White House, a place of tranquility where Lincoln could refresh his mind. Based on research in rarely tapped sources, especially the letters and memoirs of people who lived or worked at the Soldiers' Home, Lincoln's Sanctuary offers the unexpected-a completely fresh view of Abraham Lincoln-through the window of a place that helped shape his more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 157 x 245.9 x 24.6mm | 562.46g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerousn halftones
  • 0195162064
  • 9780195162066

Review quote

"This is an impressive work by Pinsker. It is remarkably well-researched, and he writes with clarity and grace. Pinsker shows us that the Soldiers' Home was a 'personal center' for Lincoln, and that the place had a special 'spirit' in his story as President. That 'spirit' is, of course, a family story, and Pinsker tells it well."-David W. Blight, Yale University, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory "Matthew Pinsker's Lincoln's Sanctuary is an outstanding contribution to our understanding of the sixteenth president. Not only does it deepen our knowledge of Lincoln and of the Soldiers' Home, the retreat where he tried to relax; this readable volume offers new insights into wartime Washington and the fighting of the Civil War."-Jean H. Baker, Goucher College, author of Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography "Pinsker's important and fascinating book tells for the first time the story of Lincoln's summer White House, where so many of the major decisions of the Civil War were made. His research has been indefatigable, and Pinsker's findings will be new even to Lincoln specialists."-David Herbert Donald, Harvard University, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lincolnshow more

About Matthew Pinsker

Matthew Pinsker teaches at Dickinson College and writes frequently about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. He lives with his wife in Lancaster, more

Rating details

126 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 29% (36)
4 38% (48)
3 25% (32)
2 7% (9)
1 1% (1)
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