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

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

by Charles Lachman

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Most books about Abraham Lincoln end on April 14, 1865, the day he was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre. But that historic event takes place near the beginning of The Last Lincolns, a singular title in the vast output of Lincolnia and one of the most unusual books ever written on the sixteenth president and his family. Going far beyond that fateful day into uncharted territory, it’s a gripping page turner written by a TV producer with proven storytelling skills.
This absorbing American tragedy tells the largely unknown story of the acrimony that consumed the Lincolns in the months and years that followed the president’s murder. This was not a family that came together in mourning and mutual sadness; instead, they fell out over the anguished mental condition of the widowed Mary. In 1875, Robert—the handsome but resentful eldest Lincoln child—engineered her arrest and forcible commitment to an insane asylum. In each succeeding generation, the Lincolns’ misfortunes multiplied, as a litany of alcohol abuse, squandered fortunes, burned family papers, and outright dissipation led to the downfall of this once-great family.
Charles Lachman traces the story right up to the last generation of Lincoln descendants: great-grandson Bob Lincoln Beckwith, his estranged wife, Annemarie, and her son, Timothy Lincoln Beckwith. Bob, who was according to all medical evidence sterile, believes the son who bears the Lincoln name was the product of an adulterous affair. Annemarie, however, wanted the boy to be a “Lincoln,” putting the child in line for a vast inheritance. There’s even evidence—uncovered by Lachman for the first time—that a scheme to obtain possession of the Lincoln fortune was orchestrated by Bob Beckwith’s chauffer, who may have been the notorious outlaw and skyjacker, D.B. Cooper.
Published in advance of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday in February 2009, The Last Lincolns provides an unforgettable glimpse into the personal legacy left by the man who could unite a nation…but not his own family.



 An Unusual Family History Reveals That:
-Abraham and Mary Lincoln were very lenient with their younger sons—and  rarely imposed discipline on them.
-At age 12, young Tad Lincoln—whose education during the family’s White House years was very lax—could still not read. 
-Eldest son Robert Lincoln objected to the intense attention the media paid to the Lincoln family.
-After her husband’s assassination, Mary Lincoln pleaded for financial assistance from family friends and people in government.
-Mary’s erratic behavior led Robert to swear out a warrant for her arrest and institutionalization.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402774485
Publisher: Union Square Press
Publication date: 01/25/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 304,849
File size: 2 MB

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The Last Lincolns: The Rise and Fall of a Great American Family 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Tony1954 More than 1 year ago
I just started reading this book and although I will finish it, I found glaring errors in the "history" the author was supposedly writing in regards to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln which will definately cause me to question to what extent and what sources did Mr. Lachman use to research this book. Had he referred to any of the leading Licoln assassination scholars, he would not have made the errors as found. First, Mr. Lachman states at least 4 times that Tad Lincoln was at the National Theater watching the play "Alladin", when he and the White House valet were quietly informed the President had been shot. While it IS correct Tad was attending that play, he was however, at Grovers Theater NOT the National as stated. Someone burst into Grovers and loudly announced Lincoln had been shot at which point Tad became hysterical and was escorted back to the White House. Secondly, the author states Laura Keene, the star of Our American Cousin, the play the Lincolns attended at Fords Theater, stayed with Mary Lincoln at the Peterson house the entire night along with Clara Harris, AND even went with Mary into the bedroom where Lincoln lay dying. Not only did Laura Keene NOT enter the bedroom containing Lincoln, she was NEVER present in the Peterson house that night at all. Mary was attended by her close friend Elizabeth Dixon as well as Clara Harris throughout that long night into the early morning hours of Saturday April 15th. Robert Lincoln was also at her side as he went back and forth between his fathers bedside and his mothers side. Such historical innacuracies found within just the first 20 or so pages of the book lead me to question any and all of the other historical "facts" Mr. Lachman writes in his 400+ pages. If your'e looking for fictional entertainment, this book will fit the bill. If your'e looking for fact-based history, look elswhere.
Kevin Weissenborn More than 1 year ago
An interesting book. There are some innaccurate statements or claims in the book. However, I found the relationship of Mary Lincoln and Robert delivered rather fairly. Unfortunate to read that the descendants of Lincoln did not live to expectations...fair or not. The book is a quick read and I would reccommend the book.
BuffaloGal More than 1 year ago
An avid reader of all things Lincoln, this book answered so many questions about the family, and sadly completed the tale of this great man's very very sad life. How anyone of Lincoln's excellence could sire such decendants is mind-bongling. How they ignored and defamed his legacy is unbelievable. Progeny of the one son whose personality was so different from his great father, Robert Lincoln was a supremely private and snobbish man who reared spoiled, society-driven descendants who neither appreciated nor honored the Lincoln name. Yes, he did love his family and he did honor his father. But he also used the Lincoln name to great advantage. His personality quirks did more to hide Lincoln from the public, than to honor him. And given the lives of his children and grandchildren, one wonders if they EVER EVER talked about their great ancestor! An excellent, edifying, well done book, even if the truth does hurt a bit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! I found this book interesting & well researched. Sometimes I felt it was bogged down with minutia but it still held my attention. This book was able to pull many indiduals & events from the past 150 years into this tale without using a list or actual timeline. Definately worth reading!
TexMexRH More than 1 year ago
If you are interested in history this is the book for you. I found out more things about the Lincoln family then I ever knew existed. I wasn't even aware that he had great great children that were alive during my life time. It was a very interesting book. I could not put it down. There was scandal, greed and even insanity. I highly recommend this book.
dailyread More than 1 year ago
After reading all the reviews, I bought this book to read on my nook. This book is interesting and a page turner. I had no idea that the life of the last Lincolns was so fascinating. I would recommend this book.
jane_f_pedler More than 1 year ago
This gem of a book, which I was fortunate enough to find in Barnes and Noble, kept me wanting to read and read, until I reached the end. It was difficult to put the volume down each time I had to, that I might accomplish everyday things. Filled with facts, quotes and ancedotes about the Lincoln and Todd family lines, from very early times to the 20th century, it also features an excellent photograph section that added even more allure to this book. The Mary Todd Lincoln story, especially, was deeply fascinating, touching, and provocative. One of the all-time best Lincoln books I have come across...recommended highly!
Claire484 More than 1 year ago
The Last Lincolns is not what I expected! I thought it was going to be an outline of history instead, I found an engrossing family saga. The story of the descendants of Abraham Lincoln is absolutely fascinating and so well told. This is a family that was destroyed through madness, secrecy, and self-destructive behavior
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You might expect a family like the Lincolns to have made an extraordinary impact on American life in subsequent generations. This story is the saga of why they did not. It is written in a fast-paced, absorbing and entertaining style and is an utterly compelling story. You will wake up at 4am wanting to know what happens next as it builds to an extraordinary conclusion.
DaleVanWyhe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. It is sad that the family ended in such a way. Abraham Lincoln was a great man. He thought of others. His family thought abouy themselves. Sad.
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you are interested strictly in historically significant figures, you may not like this book. If, however, like me, you actually like going to the doctor¿s office so you can read People in the waiting room, I think you will find this book interesting. Charles Lachman tells the story of Lincoln¿s family and descendants after his death.It is not a happy story. It starts with the reluctance of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to discipline their children. Their youngest, Tad, never even had to go to school until he was fourteen and still could not read at the age of twelve! (Thereafter, Mary started teaching him so he could start classes.) The oldest, and only son to survive into old age, Robert, was a distant, cold, priggish person who, however, prospered largely because of his name.The bulk of the book tells about the life of Mary Todd Lincoln after the assassination of her husband. In spite of presenting a plethora of examples of very bad behavior on Mary¿s part, the author is quite an advocate for her, claiming she was misunderstood, badly treated, and unjustly depicted as insane. I would suggest that the author read his own book however, because one definitely gets the impression the charges were not unfounded.Robert Lincoln is the one who had his mother committed, afraid that she was a danger to herself if left unsupervised. Robert¿s wife, also named Mary, could not stand her mother-in-law, refused to go to her funeral, and even moved Robert¿s body out of the family tomb after his death so they could be buried apart from the rest of the Lincoln family. They had three children. The youngest, Abraham Lincoln II, looked remarkably like Tad Lincoln, and also shared his fate, both of the boys dying in their late teens. (They were also the only two children who favored Abraham Lincoln rather than Mary Todd Lincoln in temperament and looks.)As a bachelor, Robert had been known in the press as "The Prince of Rails," a joke referring both to his father, the Rail Splitter, and to the Prince of Wales, the popular playboy son of Queen Victoria. This sense of Robert as "heir apparent" helped him attain important political positions. Robert served as Secretary of War and also as Minister to Great Britain. He was often proposed as a candidate for the presidency. He did not acquit himself well in the positions he served, having picked up his mother¿s tendency to engage in spiteful vendettas. He does have the unique distinction of having been the only person in history to have been at the bedside of three assassinated presidents ¿ Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley, which earned him the sobriquet of the Presidential Angel of Death.The two surviving daughters of Robert and Mary Lincoln had children, but none of these great-grandchildren managed to reproduce. The last descendant, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985.After President Lincoln¿s death, the family was marked by ¿scandal and a sense of entitlement¿¿ and became ¿a symbol for dishonor and decadence in the upper class.¿ It¿s not only a sad story because of what became of the family, but also because of the description of the effects on the nation. The country knew what it had lost (as is often the case, after it was too late), and yearned for another man of Lincoln¿s character, putting its last best hope, fruitlessly, in his genetic descendants. I enjoyed reading this book, but I¿m something of a crazed Lincoln groupie. I guess I have something of that yearning myself.
MerryMary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fascinating book. The first half deals primarily with Mary and her relationship (or lack thereof) with her eldest son. Robert himself also gets several chapters. The last chapters deal with the last two generations. It is anticlimactic that the direct family line ended with such ordinary and sadly inept people. Not only inferior to their illustrious ancestor, but uncaring and dismissive of the connection.I have a personal connection, albeit distant. My paternal grandmother was a Lincoln - descended from one of Abraham's cousins. I have more pride in the connection than the president's own great-grandchildren had.
snash on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The greatness of Abraham Lincoln, not just as a public man but also as a private man, exudes out of every biography written about him. It begs the question. Where are his heirs, those who were blessed by his genes and kindness? Surely, they must have also shone. This book answers this question and the answer is not pretty. Sadly, the son most distant from his father is the only one who survived. Mary Todd Lincoln who collapsed into at least dysfunction if not lunacy upon the death of two sons and her husband, had the most lasting influence on her remaining son, Robert. Robert married a woman like his mother and amassed a fortune. His two daughters married to give birth to a total of three great grandchildren, all "spoiled brats" embarrassed by their relationship with Abraham. Gladly none of them had heirs since each generation was more despicable than the previous.The book was extremely well written and well researched but the pleasure of reading it ebbed as the characters became less likable.
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I really enjoyed this book. What a family!! Very sad how they ended up. Love to read about historical figures. Well worth the $$.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book.
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CF51 More than 1 year ago
This is a well written book about the history of Abraham Lincoln's decendents; although well versed in the life of Abraham Lincoln, the sad decline of Mary Todd Lincoln, and somewhat familiar with the story of his son Robert's life, I knew nothing about the family history beyond that. This is well written and fascinating and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Abraham Lincoln and his family.
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