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Father Lincoln

The Untold Story of Abraham Lincoln and His Boys--Robert, Eddy, Willie, and Tad

Alan Manning

President Abraham Lincoln is known as the Great Emancipator, the Savior of the Union, and an American martyr to the people who read about him. But that was not how his sons knew him. Presidential historian Alan Manning invites readers to see not the thoughtful, burdened president delivering the Gettysburg Address to a war-torn nation, but a man quietly reading bedtime stories to his sleepy-eyed sons; and not the resolute commander-in-chief seeking out winning generals and forming war policy, but a man wrestling with his own grown son’s desire to join the army and go off to war. A combination of history, biography, and family culture, this book follows Lincoln from his growing law practice in Springfield through the turbulent war years in the White House, highlighting the same challenges that many fathers face today: balancing a successful career with paternal responsibilities—a perspective largely ignored by previous Lincoln biographers, thus helping to complete the portrait of one of the most popular, significant, and complex figures in American history. « less more »
Globe Pequot Press / Lyons Press
Pages: 288Size: 6 1/4 x 9 3/8
978-1-4930-1823-9 • Hardback • May 2016 • $26.95 • (£17.95)
978-1-4930-1824-6 • eBook • May 2016 • $25.99 • (£17.95)
Alan Manning is an independent historian and teacher. He received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in History from the University of West Florida, and a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review. Manning practiced law for over 25 years at international and regional law firms before taking an early retirement in order to teach American history and to write. He currently teaches in the History Department at the University of West Florida and at Pensacola Catholic High and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on presidential history, a subject for which he has a particular passion. As he researched and wrote this book, Manning's experience of practicing law while raising four daughters gave him a unique insight into Lincoln’s life. He lives in Pensacola, Florida, with his wife and children.
"[Lincoln’s] bride may have become pregnant on their wedding night, for within nine months the couple welcomed the first of four sons. This is where Father Lincoln, Allan Manning’s book about Lincoln as a parent . . . hits its own stride, probing and generally cheering Lincoln’s efforts to become a good father despite frequent and prolonged absences…. [B]reaks significant ground…. Mr. Manning contributes a fresh argument by rejecting recent studies that assess Lincoln as a doting but largely absent parent…. Mr. Manning supplies examples to spare." –Wall Street Journal

To cast Lincoln’s humanity in a new light and advance our understanding of nineteenth-century fatherhood are singular achievements. Alan Manning accomplishes both with literary skill. Anyone interested in the life of our country’s greatest president or the history of American fatherhood will find this book essential and enthralling.
Stephen M. Frank, author of Life with Father: Parenthood and Masculinity in the Nineteenth-Century American North

Alan Manning has written a marvelous, scrupulously researched book on Lincoln the devoted father, filled with delightful and revealing stories and anecdotes that demonstrate how Lincoln and his wife faced the same parenting dilemmas (and criticisms) as any modern parent. An engaging addition to the Lincoln canon.
Scott Farris, New York Times bestselling author of Kennedy & Reagan: Why Their Legacies Endure and Inga: Kennedy's Great Love, Hitler's Perfect Beauty and J. Edgar Hoover's Prime Suspect

Most of us know Abraham Lincoln as a politician, president, statesman, and commander-in-chief, but rarely have we caught a more vivid glimpse of his private role as the head of a family than the one that Alan Manning provides in his absorbing new book, Father Lincoln. Offering a wealth of revealing and intriguing insights into the personal side of Lincoln’s life, Manning invites us inside the home where he and his wife Mary raised their children Robert, Eddie, Willie, and Tad. Here we witness the tender moments that Lincoln shared with each of his four sons, the exchanges of humor and playful fun that helped to allay his weightiest public burdens, and the wrenching incidents of poignant sorrow that all too often accompany parenthood, as well. Taking us through myriad episodes by turns touching, tragic, and trivial, Father Lincoln tells the engrossing story of Lincoln’s ever compassionate relationship with the four boys who enriched his life and whom he cherished beyond measure.
Kenneth J. Winkle, Sorensen Professor of American History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and author of The Young Eagle: The Rise of Abraham Lincoln and Abraham and Mary Lincoln

Attorney and history teacher Manning insists that the most extraordinary aspect of Abraham Lincoln as a father was that he was very 'ordinary.' Manning ably sets Lincoln’s parenting in the context of changing attitudes regarding the proper place and feelings of fathers in middle-class American families and shows that Lincoln sought to balance the demands of his law practice and then his presidency with the emotional needs of his children. The author dispels the common idea that Lincoln had a distant relationship with his oldest son, Robert, or that he was not a devoted family man. . . .Manning. . . .relates many tales to reveal a man of feeling, who loved and grieved, as men of his day were then 'allowed' to do.
Library Journal