THE TRIAL OF MRS. ABRAHAM LINCOLN by Homer Croy

THE TRIAL OF MRS. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This rambling book by the author of Jesse James Was My Neighbor, The Last of the Outlaws, etc., tells the tragic and little-known story of the trial of Mrs. Lincoln before a Chicago jury on an insanity charge brought against her by her son, Robert Todd Lincoln, ten years after her husband's assassination. Mrs. Lincoln, ""a strange, tortured and yet somehow noble woman"" with an inordinate love of possessions, was given to senseless extravagances and a few harmless delusions. Her only surviving son, Robert, an upright and unimaginative man, distressed by her behavior and believing that he was acting for her own good, in 1875 without her knowledge brought a legal charge of insanity against her. Given no warning of the trial, never examined medically nor mentally, she was brought before a jury and found insane. Sent to an asylum and confined behind bars, she was rescued by influential friends and again tried the next year, this time in absentia -- and declared sane; she died six years later in Springfield, Ill., at the age of 64. The author states that the story of the trial ""has never before been told in factual form"", all court records having been either destroyed or lost; how ""factual"" is his version of the affair may be questioned by some authorities. Drawing on various newspaper reports of the trial but neither naming his sources nor quoting directly from them, he has filled his book with fictional dialogue ""for which there is no historical support"" but which he believes, from studying the characters in the drama, ""must have been said by them"". Mr. Croy has written many excellent books; this one unfortunately is not up to his past standards.

Publisher: Duell, Sloan & Pearce