Skip to main content

Love Is Eternal

March 2023
1min read

a Novel About Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln

by Irving Stone. Doubleday &: Company. 468 pp. $3.95.

Historians are inclined to dismiss the historical novel as having no positive value and, as a matter of fact, of contributing in a major way to the misunderstanding of history. Yet a great many readers of the biographical novels of Irving Stone would know nothing at all about Jessie and John Charles Fremont, Rachel and Andrew Jackson, and—currently—Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln, were it not for his books. Despite the liberties he has taken with his subject, the knowledge his readers have gained of American history is essentially accurate. In recording the events of history, he is meticulously careful; it is only when he introduces the thoughts and words of his characters that his biographical portraits are open to question.

The reader of this book will emerge with a better pen portrait of the Lexington, Kentucky, and the Springfield, Illinois, of Mary Todd Lincoln’s time than he will find in any other work in the field of Lincolniana, with the possible exception of Carl Sandburg’s description of Springfield in The Prairie Years . These cities come alive in Mr. Stone’s pages. In the Washington-Presidential period, the reader is more apt to be disappointed. Here the portrait is less convincing.

Mr. Stone is obviously in love with his heroine. He does not try to explain away all of her faults—as some writers have imprudently done—but he does use the novelist’s device to build up his heroine at the expense of her husband. That Abraham Lincoln was a difficult husband no one can deny, but Mrs. Lincoln was far from perfect herself. Lincoln’s spells of melancholia are exaggerated, and in the hands of a skillful artist help to convey a most sympathetic portrait of Mrs. Lincoln.

If the portrait of Lincoln does not quite accord with the opinions of most of the reputable Lincoln biographers, the story itself is told with a high degree of literary craftsmanship.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.


Stories published from "December 1954"

Authored by: The Editors

a Novel About Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln

Authored by: The Editors

The Prairie Years and the War Years

Authored by: The Editors

The French Regime in Canada

Authored by: The Editors

Civil War Newsmen in Action

Authored by: The Editors

A Study in Administrative History, 1829–1861

Authored by: The Editors

Three Hundred Years of Jewish Life in America

Authored by: T. Harry Williams

Suspected but not convicted, this General went to prison

Authored by: Cleveland Amory

What with all this democracy things will never be the same

Authored by: Bruce Catton

Our American heritage is greater than any one of us.

Authored by: Eugene Kingman

The Middle West has put its stamp on many artists’ work

Featured Articles

Rarely has the full story been told about how a famed botanist, a pioneering female journalist, and First Lady Helen Taft battled reluctant bureaucrats to bring Japanese cherry trees to Washington. 

The world’s most prominent actress risked her career by standing up to one of Hollywood’s mega-studios, proving that behind the beauty was also a very savvy businesswoman. 

Often thought to have been a weak president, Carter was strong-willed in doing what he thought was right, regardless of expediency or the political fallout.

Why have thousands of U.S. banks failed over the years? The answers are in our history and politics.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.