A captivating look at how Abraham Lincoln evolved into one of our seminal foreign-policy presidents—and helped point the way to America’s rise to world power.
In the cold, dim balcony of Ford’s Theatre, Mary Lincoln rested a hand on her husband’s knee, then huddled closer to his side. She was not always such a tender wife.
During spells of anger, she had been known to batter her husband with broomsticks, books, timber, and “very poorly pitched potatoes”—at least once drawing blood from his nose.
Mary, whom a White House secretary had nicknamed Hellcat, was at her worst when she felt trapped. The sight of transatlantic steamers preparing to cross the ocean could touch off a storm of self-pity.
“How I long to go to Europe,” she would complain. Mary mercilessly taunted her husband that for her next marriage, she would make sure to choose a man who could afford the price of passage.
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