The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln (Hardcover)
Free Press, 9780743266390, 384pp.
Publication Date: January 4, 2005
For years, a whisper campaign has mounted about Abraham Lincoln, focusing on his intimate relationships. He was famously awkward around single women. He was engaged once before Mary Todd, but his fiance e called off the marriage on the grounds that he was "lacking in smaller attentions." His marriage to Mary was troubled. Meanwhile, throughout his adult life, he enjoyed close relationships with a number of men. He shared a bed with oshua Speed for four years as a young man, and -- as Tripp details here -- he shared a bed with an army captainwhile serving in the White House, when Mrs. Lincoln was away. As one Washington socialite commented in her diary, "What stuff "
This study reaches far beyond a brief about Lincoln's sexuality: it is an attempt to make sense of the whole man, as never before. It includes an Introduction by Jean Baker, biographer of Mary Todd Lincoln, and an Afterword containing reactions by two Lincoln scholars and one clinical psychologist and longtime acquaintance of C.A. Tripp. As Michael Chesson explains in one of the Afterword essays, "Lincoln was different from other men, and he knew it. More telling, virtually every man who knew him at all well, long before he rose to prominence, recognized it. In fact, the men who claimed to know him best, if honest, usually admitted that they did not understand him." Perhaps only now, when conventions of intimacy are so different, so open, and so much less rigid than in Lincoln's day, can Lincoln be fully understood.