When you hear the name Abraham Lincoln, which words pop into your head?
President. Tall. Beard. Civil War. Slavery. Log cabin. Honest.
Allow me to read your mind: The words “children” or “father” probably didn’t make it onto your list. Am I right? Did you even know that our 16th president had children? Don’t be ashamed. I didn’t either.
Honest Abe had four sons, and Lincoln and His Boys introduces you to three of them. This enthralling story is written from the point-of-view of Willie, the next to youngest, who gets to tag along on his father’s campaign trail, and noisy Tad, the baby of the family, who uses the White House as his playground.
Spoken by Willie:
The president’s house has as many rooms as a good sized hotel. The green room
has disgusting moldy chairs and sofas. We bounce on them, but clouds of dust and
mold come up and make us sneeze. Some rooms are filled with boring old statues
and paintings in flaking gold frames. But there are secret attics above our
living rooms. In them, we found boxes left over from other presidents. There was
a pile of rusted swords and guns left over in an old wardrobe labeled Jackson.
We found a minuteman’s uniform from the time of George Washington.
Sounds pretty cool, huh?
The book begins with Willie, Tad, and their parents at home in Springfield, Illinois. Their father, a lawyer, is thinking about running for president against his rival, Mr. Douglas. Through Willie’s eyes, we follow his family all the way to the White House. About three-fourths of the way through the book, we start to see the family through Taddie’s point of view. Through a miserable war filled with death and despair, family tragedy, and the crumbling of the South, we witness Abraham Lincoln as a devoted father; always kind, always gentle, and never losing track of what is important.
For those of you who think biographies are boring, I strongly suggest you give this book a chance. Although it reads like historical fiction, it’s really a biography in disguise.
*Recipe to Read By: Union Hardtack
Click here to read about the history of hardtack.
2 cups of flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon of Crisco or vegetable fat
6 pinches of salt
Mix the ingredients together into a stiff batter, knead several times, and spread the dough out flat to a thickness of 1/2 inch on a non-greased cookie sheet.
Bake for one-half an hour at 400 degrees.
Remove from oven, cut dough into 3-inch squares, and punch four rows of holes, four holes per row into the dough.
Turn dough over, return to the oven and bake another one-half hour.
Turn oven off and leave the door closed.
Leave the hardtack in the oven until cool.
Remove and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Gettysburg National Military Park
More About Lincoln: