Lincoln and His Boys

Lincoln and His Boys

Abraham Lincoln has been one of my heroes all my life. I was very young when I first heard that he loved to read, often by the light from the fireplace. Those kinds of details and childhood impressions stick with you!  Over the years, I’ve read many different books on Lincoln, including Carl Sandburg’s Abraham Lincoln, a 3-volume biography, which I read probably 45 years ago. Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals is sitting on my TBR shelf waiting for me.

So when I saw the cover of this beautiful little book at the library, there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation. It’s a quick read, beautifully written, and it captures the kindness and greatness of the man. Lincoln and His Sons, by Rosemary Wells, is written from the point of view of Willie, and then of Tad Lincoln, between the years of 1859 and 1865. It’s a refreshing view of an historical time period, but it is mostly a glimpse into the private life of a great man, through the eyes of his adored and adoring boys.

Rosemary Wells has done a sensitive job of capturing emotional truths in his little book. It ends before Lincoln’s assassination, but not before tragedy and loss within this family. They had already lost a son before the story begins, but then they  lose Willie, both boys to childhood illnesses — “fever.”

The language of the book is from the time period and adds an authenticity to these well-researched stories.

At last he says, “There are a hundred reasons why things happen, Willie. Those reasons fan out like circles around a stone thrown into a pond. The stone in the center of those reason rings is called truth. Truth is the very hardest thing on earth to see clear.”

“What is the truth?” I ask him.

Father smiles that big grin that changes his whole face, and his eyes come back to me. “Next year I will skunk Senator Douglas!”

It’s a book worth reading for adults as well as children, and would be a nice addition to a classroom library, grades 4-8.


5 thoughts on “Lincoln and His Boys

  1. Petunia

    I share a birthday with Lincoln (and my favorite grandma) so he holds a special fondness in my heart as well. Our homeschool will not study that historic period until next year but I will be sure to snag this book from the library when the time comes. Thanks for sharing your children’s selections. I appreciate your thoughts on them and trust your recommendations.


  2. Bookfool, aka Nancy

    I’ve always loved Lincoln, too. Welcome back! I’ve been pretty busy, too. This is my youngest son’s senior year and his last swim season, so I’m spending lots of time at the pool. Just three more swim meets and he’ll be done with swimming competitively, forever. Bwaaah! I’ll miss it so much. Congrats on getting a student teacher. I’ll bet that’s nice.


  3. Robin Post author

    Thanks, Bookfool. You do sound busy!! And after putting in so much parent time at the pool, I’m sure you really will miss it when it’s all over.

    Bybee, it’s really quite a beautiful book. There’s so much feeling in it, and, of course, we all know what’s coming, but it manages to capture some of those happy, tenderhearted moments in that family’s brief and tragic life.



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