RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewSchiff paints a vivid portrait of a demagogue who was also a decorous man of ideals, acknowledging Adams’s innovative, extralegal activities as well as his personal virtues ... Any book from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Schiff is reason for excitement ... Brisk ... Schiff writes beautifully and lyrical passages provide a great deal of reading pleasure ... Filled with fun facts.
MixedThe New York Times Book Review... lively chapters designed to discredit the possibility that the Lincoln marriage was happy, functional or loving ... At the heart of this volume is the bold claim that Abraham did not love his wife and deeply regretted his marriage. Burlingame aggressively criticizes scholars who have suggested otherwise by interrogating the objectivity of their sources. Whether his own would withstand similar scrutiny is impossible to determine, given that the volume provides no citations (although an appendix suggests that research notes can be accessed online) ... Couples therapists are unlikely to approve of Burlingame’s method. A marriage is the creation of two responsible parties, but the author’s initial assertion that the Lincoln marriage failed because the emotionally distant Abraham and the needy Mary were unsuited for each other quickly collapses under an avalanche of accusations against Mary ... Burlingame might have interrogated Herndon’s objectivity, or expressed skepticism about the hearsay and rumors that underlie many of the accusations in this volume. Instead, he conjectures.