Lincolns Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers Home

Paperback | April 15, 2005

byMatthew Pinsker

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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 in Washington, D.C., on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home, a residence for disabled military veterans. In Lincoln's Sanctuary, historianMatthew Pinsker offers a fascinating portrait of Lincoln's stay in this place 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 keywartime 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, demonstratingwhat one visitor to the Soldiers' Home described as his remarkable "elasticity of spirits." At his secluded retreat, 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 narrowlyavoided 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 presidency.

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From the Publisher

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 in Washington, D.C., on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home, a residence for disabled military veterans. In Lincoln's Sanctuary, historianMatthew Pinsker offers a fascinating portrait ...

Matthew Pinsker is the Endowed Chair of Civil War Studies at Dickinson College. He lives with his wife in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 6.1 × 9.02 × 0.91 inPublished:April 15, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195179854

ISBN - 13:9780195179859

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"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, afamily story, and Pinsker tells it well."--David W. Blight, Yale University, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory