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4.0 out of 5 stars Like Their Country and The State, A Family Torn By War, 29 Sep 2012
By 
James Gallen (St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, a Family Divided by War (Audio CD)
The "House of Abraham" was the stereotypical family divided by the Civil War. Having little close family of his own, Lincoln adopted his wife's expansive family, the Todds of Kentucky. It was an adoption that brought both a sense of belonging and a flood of heartache. Natives of Kentucky, the Todds, like their country and their state, split, North and South.

Mary's brothers, sisters and brothers-in-law served, and died, for the Union and Confederacy. Besides the sorrow of the betrayed and lost, her Rebel relatives brought embarrassment to an already unpopular First Lady and created political problems for the President. Suspicions of disloyalty were encouraged when the First Family hosted Mary's sister, an unrepentant widow of a Confederate officer, in the White House.

Author Stephen Berry has skillfully crafted this biography of a family torn by war. "House of Abraham is written in a style to capture and hold the reader's unflagging interest. In other works I had picked up a sense of the quandary in which the Lincolns were ensnared by Mary's family but this work brings the tragedy into stark relief. For any Lincoln fan, this book is one you will not want to miss.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Family which was the Nation in Miniature, 15 Mar 2009
By 
R. Mallison (Warwickshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Following what at best could be described as an unconventional courtship Lincoln married Mary Todd in 1842, thus connecting him with a set of in-laws who during the Civil War years were to add measurably to his trials as president and commander in chief. Eight of the Todds sided with the Confederacy. Of these two Todd brothers were killed and a Todd sister lost her husband, a Confederate general. One Todd stood accused of prisoner abuse and another of looting. Even from the Todds who sided with the Union Lincoln could not escape embarrassment. One of his brothers-in-law abused the commissioner's job to which Lincoln on sufferance had appointed him, while another behaved treasonably.
The underlying theme of the book - how the Todd family, like the nation itself, was torn apart by war - is argued persuasively and well. The material is well organised (from the brief introduction to each of the Todd siblings through to the Epilogue where their "exits from the stage" are briefly chronicled) and the prose concise and readable. The tribulations experienced by Lincoln in the hands of this dysfunctional family have found an effective chronicler in Stephen Berry.
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House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, a Family Divided by War
House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, a Family Divided by War by Stephen W. Berry (Audio CD - 19 Nov 2007)
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