From the day of his inauguration, Abraham Lincoln was confronted with a nation divided by a savage conflict but within the White House walls, Lincoln's family was as divided as the nation he led.
Criticized by the American public for her extravagance, and distrusted because of her Southern roots, First Lady Mary Lincoln's increasing mental instability would strain her marriage. The presidential couple was devastated when eleven-year-old Willie died in the White House of typhoid fever. Robert Lincoln's success at Harvard made his parents proud, but his relationship with them was troubled and would eventually result in his permanent, painful estrangement. The Lincolns' youngest son Tad, though physically impaired, remained the couple's joy; but the president's assassination coupled with Tad's early death all but destroyed Mary's fragile spirit. Mary finally retreated into deep seclusion, falling further into madness until her own death in 1882. The Lincolns in the White House is a moving and poignant portrait of the family life of America's greatest president.
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