The tumultuous experiences Abraham Lincoln had with women have long been chronicled. Lincoln's Ladies attempts to answer the questions of how he was affected by the women in his life and how he affected them. Abandoned through death by his mother, his sister, and his sweetheart, Ann Rutledge, Lincoln found it difficult to relate to women and developed an emotional barrier that often antagonized them. Abstract and cool, he feared intimacy and marriage and, following Ann Rutledge's untimely death, was incapable of loving anyone the way he had loved her, probably the only woman with whom he shared a deep and wonderful love. Lincoln fumbled his way through other courtships and was turned down at least twice. He then stumbled into a strange relationship with Mary Todd--one culminated by marriage through her trickery and his sense of honor. Lincoln's marriage to her was his greatest tragedy, a burning, scorching hell as terrible as death and as gloomy as the grave, said William Herndon, Lincoln's partner and biographer. According to H. Donald Winkler, Lincoln's emotions and motivations were shaped from a mixture of crippling and energizing experiences associated with women, experiences that profoundly affected his personal and professional lives. Lincoln's Ladies explores the impact of more than thirty women on his life. Not overlooked, however, are the positive impacts of women on Lincoln and he on them, especially his stepmother, who probably was the first person to treat him with respect and glimpse his potential.