Jason Emerson, editor of the Skaneateles Press and independent historian, last week saw the publication of his fourth book, “Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln,” by Southern Illinois University Press.
Emerson, a former National Park Service park ranger at the Abraham Lincoln Home National Historic Site, has been studying Abraham Lincoln and his family for nearly 20 years and previously has published books on both Abraham and Mary Lincoln.
“Giant in the Shadows” is the definitive biography of Robert Todd Lincoln, the oldest son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln, and only the second book on Robert’s life ever written. The first was published nearly 50 years ago.
The book was slated for a late April release, but after an early print return from the printing house and a high number of pre-sales totaling half the first edition of 3,000 copies, the publisher decided to release the book one month early.
Emerson, after nearly 10 years of research, draws upon previously unavailable materials to offer the first truly definitive biography of the famous lawyer, businessman, and statesman who, much more than merely the son of America's most famous president, made his own indelible mark on one of the most progressive and dynamic eras in United States history.
Born in a boardinghouse but passing his last days at ease on a lavish country estate, Robert Lincoln played many roles during his lifetime. As a president's son, a Union soldier, a Chicago attorney, a U.S. secretary of war and a minister to Great Britain, Lincoln was indisputably a titan of his age. Much like his father, he became one of the nation's most respected and influential men, building a successful law practice in the city of Chicago, serving shrewdly as president of the Pullman Car Company, and at one time even being considered as a candidate for the U.S. presidency.