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Extended Audio Sample House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, a Family Divided by War, by Stephen Berry, Michael Prichard Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (140 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen Berry, Michael Prichard Narrator: Michael Prichard Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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For all the talk of the Civil War “pitting brother against brother,” until now there has never been a single book that traces the story of one family ravaged by that conflict. And no family could better illustrate the personal toll the war took than Lincoln’s own. Mary Todd Lincoln was one of fourteen siblings who were split between the Confederacy and the Union. Three of her brothers fought and two died for the South. Several Todds—including Mary herself—bedeviled Lincoln’s administration with their scandalous behavior. Award-winning historian Stephen Berry tells their family saga with the narrative intricacy and emotional intensity of a novelist. The Todds’ struggles haunted the president and moved him to avoid tactics or rhetoric that would dehumanize or scapegoat the Confederates. Drawing on his own familial experience, Lincoln was inspired to articulate a humanistic, even charitable view of the enemy that seems surpassingly wise in our time, let alone his.

With brio and rigor, Berry fills a gap in Civil War history, showing how the war changed one family and how that family changed the course of the war. As they debate each other about the issues of the day and comfort each other in the wake of shared tragedy, the Todds become a singular microcosm and a metaphor for the country as a whole.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A fast-paced, sobering story, never better told.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “The well-regarded Prichard reads Berry’s tale of the Todds with long, significant pauses and a stentorian rigor…. By stretching time out like taffy, Prichard manages to make it flow faster than it otherwise would.”

    Publishers Weekly (audio review)

  • “This biography takes full advantage of Michael Prichard’s narrative skills…Prichard’s fans will hear him at his best.”


  • “Compelling…. Brings to vibrant life Lexington aristocrats never before studied in depth by Lincoln biographers…remarkable…. A riveting account.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Patricia Kelmar | 1/19/2014

    " Doing this on book tape. Mary Todd Lincoln was one of 14 kids...unbelievable! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Allysmom | 1/12/2014

    " Lots of information on the Todd family and their roles during the Civil War. Goes into detail about how Lincoln's marriage to a Todd put lots of strain on their relationship and his presidency. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Schawn schoepke | 1/8/2014

    " I thought it was a very interesting perspective. I had never thought about the Todds and how Lincoln related to them during his life and this time period. It was very interesting. Not very nice folks overall..... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Ivah | 12/16/2013

    " Interesting perspective of Lincoln within the context of Mary Todd Lincoln's very large family which was itself divided by the Civil War. "

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About the Author

Stephen Berry is an assistant professor of history at the University of Georgia and the author of All That Makes a Man: Love and Ambition in the Civil War South. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, among other honors.