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Synopsis

Lincoln's Men is the first narrative portrait of the three young men who served as Lincoln's secretaries during the Civil War. John Nicolay and John Hay lived in the White House, across the hall from the president's office, and they and William Stoddard spent more time with Lincoln than anyone else outside his immediate family.

Lincoln used these three intelligent, articulate young men as a sounding board; they were the first audience for much of his writing from the period. From their unique vantage point, they had a front-row seat on the drama of war, but they also had a good time. Washington under siege was a city of endless receptions and parties. Daniel Mark Epstein captures the drama in each life. We see Nicolay, balancing his obligations to Lincoln with a long-distance engagement to his childhood sweetheart; Hay, the poet/amanuensis, in love with a famous and married actress; and Stoddard, a little too obsessed with gambling in the gold market.

The secretaries left significant diaries, letters, and memoirs about Lincoln. Nicolay and Hay went on to distinguished careers in the Foreign Service after the war and later wrote the classic “authorized” biography of Lincoln, published in 1890 in ten volumes.

An intimate and moving portrait of the Civil War White House, Lincoln's Men gives a vivid sense of what it was like to work for America's most brilliant president at the pivotal moment in the country's history. It is essential reading for fans of American history.

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