Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Emancipator's Wife

I finished reading this novel about Mary Todd Lincoln a couple of days ago, and found it interesting. I didn't find myself enthralled with the book (it took several days to read through) but I did find myself compelled by how Mrs. Lincoln came to be judged insane. I don't often read many Civil War era books, and although I knew a lot about President Lincoln's politics I really didn't know much about his family. My heart just went out to Mary as I was reading. I can't fathom the agony of losing three of my four sons to illnesses (and having four sons myself I can only imagine what an emptiness that must bring), but to also have to be at my husband's side if he was assassinated... I can see how Mary would break down, particularly since she apparently had mental disorders that excasperated the problems in her life.

I find it very sad how the medical profession and the Spiritualists preyed on her vulnerability. (Very interesting that it was the same type of predatory behavior that set Sarah Winchester off to California to live a life building a never-ending house on the advice of a spiritualist in the same time period) I know the medical care wasn't great for the men either, but at least their ailments weren't all blamed on "female vapors" and "nervous dispositions" after their medical treatments left them addicted to drugs such as opium.. the main ingredient in the popular female medicines of the day.

This is very much a novel in that most of the conversational storylines have been made up, but the author did stay true to timelines and did a good job researching the background information.

I have a list of people I would like to sit and visit with in Heaven someday... Benjamin Franklin, the Founding Fathers, Oskar Schindler, Corrie ten Boom, relatives, etc, (I figure there will be a lot of time to visit, so I just keep my list and don't worry about how long it gets) and I have added Mary Todd Lincoln to that list. There are so many things about the life of the Lincolns that I would love to hear about, and I have a feeling that only she and the President can really answer most of them!

1 comment:

Sharla said...

Jenn, thanks for commenting on this book. I will have to get it! It sounds very interesting.

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