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The Last Lincolns: The Rise & Fall of a Great American Family

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  300 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Most books about Abraham Lincoln end with his assassination. That’s the day this book begins. The Last Lincolns tells the largely unknown tale of the family’s fall from grace in the years and generations following the president’s murder. The story—rife with insanity, floods, fires, alcohol abuse, and squandered fortunes—is brought right up to what may be the last generatio ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Union Square Press (first published October 7th 2008)
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Feb 22, 2016 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating book! Told from the pretext of a post-White House/assassination Lincoln family, this a type of political "King Lear" played out upon the world stage. Although the two main characters are Mary Todd (she doesn't die until the 20th chapter) and Robert Lincoln, the book touches albeit briefly on the lives of the descendants of Abraham Lincoln.

The Lincoln family lived thru some of the most fascinating periods of American History. From the depths of the Civil War to the Gilded A
Jill Hutchinson
An extremely informative book which relates the lives of the Lincoln dynasty from immediately after the President's assassination until the death of the "last Lincoln" in 1983. This was a family that experienced much tragedy, and controversy surrounded them, beginning immediately after President Lincoln's death. Almost two-thirds of the book concentrates on the disturbed and unhappy life of Mary Todd Lincoln, the President's widow, as she battled with her only surviving son, Robert, in a scandal ...more
Kristina Hoerner
Jul 16, 2009 Kristina Hoerner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been a while since I've read a history book for pleasure. I came across this one while I was straightening books in the new biography section and was intrigued. What a sad family and really depressing to realize that there are no living direct descendents of Abraham Lincoln. Only one of his four children (Robert Todd) reached adulthood. Robert had only one son that died as a teen and two daughters. The daughters' children were spoiled, weird brats and never reproduced. It is a shame to re ...more
This only gets a 3 because of the history involved that is often not discussed when President Lincoln is brought up. Although it is backed up with plenty of historic documentation and accounts from the times.. it is pretty boring, or at least long-winded. By the summary the book has potential to be something very interesting and something that I was excited to read. However it is very dry and almost too detailed. Although it is called "the Last Lincolns", the first 500 pages (*ebook version) are ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find this book very entertaining and I am learning lots of stuff I had no idea about. I mean, I knew the basic premise of what happened to Abe on April 14 and I knew that all her sons but Robert died young.

But I did not know the extent of what happened to the Lincolns after Abe was killed.

This book carries on down the line of all the Lincolns and what happened to them, where they worked, their offspring.

Interesting that Robert was the only son who lived and lost his son. His two daughters marr
Dec 20, 2009 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, american
A very informative, and rather tragic, look into one of the most famous and remarkable American political families. Watching how this family went from the Great Emancipator to his three eccentric, layabout great-grandchildren was rather quite sad.

It was also rather heart-wrenching to see both Tad Lincoln and Abraham "Jack" Lincoln II die so young, especially when they both held such promise. The good certainly do die young in this case.

The first two-thirds of the book was all right, covering Mar
Jul 07, 2010 Andy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bob Collins
Apr 14, 2012 Bob Collins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story of Abraham Lincoln's immediate family and descendants. Over half the book is spent on Mary Todd Lincoln, her eccentricities, scandals, insanity trial and her continual difficulties with friends and family. This is also the story of Robert Todd Lincoln, Abe and Mary's oldest child, and the only one to survive into adulthood. Robert was swept along the tides of American history, a lawyer, a businessman,a tycoon in his day. His family name took him far and he seemed always on the ...more
The author, Charles Lachman, sets the stage by describing the changing dynamics of the Lincoln nuclear family. He shows how each loss of a child was emotionally pivotal for the Lincolns. Each loss changed the experience of the family for Robert, the only child to produce heirs.

Even today, the Lincolns would be considered permissive parents. Many permissive parents provide moral education or guidance in socialization, but there is no evidence that the Lincolns did. It seems that trashing a law of
Jul 10, 2015 Jean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of information on Mary Todd and Robert T. Lincoln, not so much on the later generations. Understandable--much less public record and a lot of secrecy in those later generations. But disappointing to me, since I knew much of the info about Mary and Robert and it was really the later generations I was interested in. A few interesting tidbits, but a pretty low rate of return given the minutiae about Mary & Robert.
Jennifer Goldberg
Couldn't put it down!!! Follow the Lincoln family bloodline into the 20th century.
The last living Lincoln was Robert Todd Lincoln's great grandson Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith
who married three times, died 1985. Beckwith was the oldest child of RTL's daughter Jessie from her first of three marriages.
This book also follows the life and times of Mary Lincoln and her death.
I found the best part of this book to be the success story of RTL with Pullman Car Co in Chicago.

One of these days I plan to do
May 13, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Susan by: can't remembe
I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it to everyone, not just Lincoln and history buffs. Most of the book covers the period of time just after Lincoln's death: what happened to his surviving sons and wife, Mary. It gives a detailed account of Mary's financial and legal problems, which included her brief incarceration in a psychiatric hospital as a result of her oldest son's efforts to have her declared insane. The final chapters cover Lincoln's direct descendants until the death of his gr ...more
Mar 15, 2013 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I traveled through Springfield, IL recently, and found the stop at the Lincoln Museum and Library a wonderful historical visit. There are many places of interest to stop and see all about our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. Since then, I am becoming a history buff on A. Lincoln. This book, "The Last Lincolns" is all new to me -- since not much has been written about the Lincoln family to the present time. In the authors note he says "The Last Lincolns is a compelling chronicle of the personal l ...more
Yvette Kinney
Mar 16, 2013 Yvette Kinney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was well researched and written. It moved along fairly well with just a few areas where the reading bogged down. It is a very sad story, but one I am glad I read. I can't help but wonder how many of the family's tragedies were brought about by their own depressed, defeatist attitudes. The other area of personal weakness seemed to be the over elevated sense of superiority certain of the descendants felt. It tainted so many of the decisions and personal relationships causing all sorts of ...more
May 03, 2014 Violet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent writting, informative, spellbinding a must read for those interested in Lincoln.
SM Surber
Feb 10, 2016 SM Surber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting....individual traits don't necessarily flow through family bloodlines.
Jan 25, 2009 Susi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book skips from chapter to chapter and you must follow that style of writing. So far, it is an amazing account of the tragic family life that Abraham Lincoln had, even while in the White House. There is some account of medical treatments that did not help his stricken son. It is a very sad story, I couldn't help but think his life was 'cursed'.

Futher in the book, it reads a bit like a soap opera and as the Last of the Lincoln family becomes more modern, it saddens me. This just was a discour
Apr 15, 2013 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very sad ending to what was once a great family. Very sad to see the carelessness of the last generation. The book got a hit tedious for me in the beginning it went back and fourth it took you up to Lincoln ' s death then brought you back before he died, then later in the book I felt there was too much fuller, the author really tried to give information of what kinds of things were happening in the world which were sometimes interesting there was no connection to Lincoln history I would have giv ...more
May 10, 2011 Sonia is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am still reading this but thus far a very interesting look at the Lincoln family dynamic and family turmoil going on through the civil war and his presidency. We just do not learn about this in school and not even at the graduate college level. But to get a glimpse of behind the scenes and in the family during that period brings a whole new dimension and level of understanding of Lincoln. I hold steadfast that this was the greatest president we ever had.
Feb 11, 2010 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lincoln-books
I bought this book on a lark, and it turned out to be a real gem, a page-turner. What an interesting account of the now expired Lincoln bloodline -- and with unexpected references to Buffalo, NY and a man I happened to meet while dining at the Old Ebbitt Grill, who actually buried the last direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps the extinction of any direct blood relations to the Great Emancipator is symbolic evidence that Lincoln belongs to us all.
Sue Hellige
Oct 31, 2012 Sue Hellige rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I'm an ongoing student of History- primarily of the Civil War Period, I was especially interested in reading this book to find out about Lincoln's descendants. What a sad story it was . For such a great man to have such ungrateful, and uncaring relatives bogles my mind. Not a one seemed to care about the issues their Namesake cherished nor displayed the humbleness he portrayed. Abraham Lincoln was truly "the last Lincoln".
Jul 13, 2009 Lauri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED this. I couldn't put it down. I have always had a special place in my heart for Abraham Lincoln, due to my family's homeplace. Now I know how the rest of the stories turn out...heartbreak on every page. Mr. Lachman writes in a conversational style that makes this a quick read. His narrative is so charming you feel like you are let in on the Lincoln family secrets. Very well documented and researched.
Ilona Meagher
Aug 25, 2012 Ilona Meagher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lincoln family tree comes to life -- and death -- before your eyes with each turn of the page. Fascinating and so well written...but depressing, too. 19th century life could be quite perilous (esp concerning health), and the Lincolns go from one tragedy and/or scandal after another. That said, the book was filled with so much interesting detail and a number of surprises, too.
Oct 06, 2015 Aubrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing was difficult to read at first. The author switches subjects within paragraphs when there should be page breaks. After getting used to that, it was easier to follow the story. I enjoyed the history and the storytelling. A sad legacy for one of history's greatest men.
Jan 31, 2013 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having a love of women in history made this book wonderful for me. I was after a Lincoln book...a general start and found this one to try. This book tells a great deal about Mary well as Mary Harlan (the daughter in law of Lincoln) so much so I am ready to read more. I found this book a historical book I couldn't wait to go back to to read each night.
Apr 14, 2013 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of the descendants of Abraham Lincoln is the focus of this book. The children and grandchildren of Robert Todd Lincoln were the last of the Lincolns, and illustrate how the family went from a great political family to a rich and eccentric group. The last of the family passed away in the 1980s, after many scandals and trials. Interesting topic.
Although Robert Lincoln was Secretary of War and managed to be in vicinity of Garfield and McKinley assassination i don't think this would have rated a book without "the name." So, the dynasty didn't amount to much, and the better educated Robert was more traditional, conservative, and uninteresting than Abraham. Is that so surprising?
Aug 25, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story of Abraham Lincoln's descendants read like a novel, and I really enjoyed it until the last two chapters. At that point, the author went off on a tangent about a con-man who had tried to swindle one of the descendants. It was kind of a tawdry ending. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this book, which was full of fascinating stories.
Jun 30, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining and informative. Hildene is a wonderful place to visit!
Apr 30, 2012 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at the Lincolns, without their patriarch, but always in his shadow. It was disappointing to read about the downfall of the family and their inability to reconcile posterity and privacy, but not altogether surprising under the circumstances.
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Charles Lachman is Executive Producer of the television news magazine show, Inside Edition. Previously he was Managing Editor of the nightly news broadcasts at WNYW-TV in New York City and was a reporter for the New York Post.

Lachman is the author of In the Name of the Law, The Last Lincolns: The Rise and Fall of a Great American Family, A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cle
More about Charles Lachman...

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