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Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship Hardcover – June 19, 2012

31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

* “Freedman writes with clarity, intelligence, and a fine sense of detail . . . a well-researched, wonderfully readable book.” 
Booklist, starred review

* “A lucid and fascinating narrative that never sacrifices depth and intellectual rigor. . . . A marvel of history writing that makes complicated history clear and interesting.” 
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
“True to form, Freedman relies heavily on period illustrations and primary and secondary sources, breathing life into both men through a generous assortment of their own words.” 
Horn Book
 
“This book would be an asset for any classroom because it shows how two men set lasting examples of equality, integrity, and selflessness.” 
VOYA, 5Q 4P MJ
 
* “A first-rate volume for classroom study and general reading.” 
School Library Journal, starred review
 
* “Clear, accessible storytelling.” 
Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
“Freedman does not deviate an inch from his customary knack of selecting the precise details an adolescent reader will require to sort through complex issues and often conflicted personalities.” 
Bulletin
 

 

 

About the Author

Russell Freedman received the Newbery Medal for Lincoln: A Photobiography. He is also the recipient of three Newbery Honors, a National Humanities Medal, the Sibert Medal, the Orbis Pictus Award, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and was selected to give the 2006 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Mr. Freedman lives in New York City and travels widely to research his books.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1110L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; First Edition edition (June 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547385625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547385624
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Russell Freedman received the Newbery Medal for LINCOLN: A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY. He is also the recipient of three Newbery Honors, a National Humanities Medal, the Sibert Medal, the Orbis Pictus Award, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and was selected to give the 2006 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Mr. Freedman lives in New York City and travels widely to research his books.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pam - because someone must be a thorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love history. History was my major at Uni. Granted, not American history, but a study of history and historiography is what little I can bring to this discussion.

My reaction to this little volume was that I was overwhelmed. Russell Freedman does just an outstanding job of explaining this complicated era. He explains the major viewpoints and how they evolved. And better than any book I've read, the author has explained Abraham Lincoln's political fence walking.

I really can't gush sufficiently about this book and I highly recommend it as a beginning text for any one who wanted to learn about the American Civil War era. The story of Abraham Lincoln and the American hero Frederick Douglas and how they became friends is both charming and amazing. This book and The Killer Angels are books I'm going to 'push' at everyone I know. Together they capture an era. Both events and personalities.

Pam T~
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Colinda VINE VOICE on June 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The publisher states this is for grade 4/age 9 and up, but I personally would classify it for a year or two older. Parents may feel that some of it is too disturbing for the average fourth grader, particularly the image of the hanging of a Black soldier. Nonetheless, I am rating it highly because the writing is excellent and the presentation is first-rate. In spite of the text being aimed at the youth market, it is not written "down" at all. It's refreshingly devoid of the overly-simple language and choppy sentences that often mark children's nonfiction. It can even be enjoyed by high school students and adults.

Russell Freedman draws upon Frederick Douglass's autobiography for the chapters on Douglass and artfully leaves out some of the violence while retaining just enough to illustrate the inhumanity of slave holding. He includes a biography of Lincoln too, of course. He builds some suspense towards their first meeting, which turned out to be cordial and productive. The history of the Civil War is pretty much limited here to the story of how it ended slavery in the United States -- an interesting and important story, covered briefly but sufficient as an introduction to the subject.

Freedman points out parallels in the lives of Lincoln and Douglass, including the influence that the book "A Columbian Orator" had on them as young people. This aroused my curiosity so I was glad to see a reproduction of a chapter from that book in the back of this book, a short piece that influenced Frederick Douglass greatly: Dialogue Between a Master and Slave.

I see that Freedman has written other history-based books for young people which received high ratings. Based on the quality of this book, I look forward to perusing some of the others.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl C. Malandrinos VINE VOICE on May 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Newbery Medal winner, Russell Freedman, does a fine job of portraying the powerful friendship and parallel lives of two men who shaped American history. One man an American president, the other a leading black abolitionist--one working to preserve the Union, the other urging freedom for all--influenced the course of the Civil War.

The book opens on August 10, 1963 with Frederick Douglass walking into the White House unannounced, hoping to meet with President Lincoln. Freedman then brings the reader back to the birth of Frederick Douglass and through his earlier life. The history of Lincoln is also shared. Lincoln's "A House Divided" speech is highlighted, along with historical events that would lead to his election in 1860. Readers are quickly brought through the pivotal events of the Civil War, Lincoln's re-election and assassination, and the remainder of Douglass' life.

While some of the historical photographs might be too graphic for the youngest targeted readers, this is a superb book about the conflict and these two men who met only a handful of times, but who deeply respected each other and left their mark on the nation's history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Knapp on September 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Freedman's latest book seems well-researched and well-written and is beautifully produced. The first chapters give history of Douglass's upbringing, the next chapters give history of Lincoln's childhood and youth, and the last half of the book follows the men in adulthood, as the Civil War boils up, and the men have occasion to cross paths. The slick pages give excellent quality to the many black and white photos and drawings.

An excellent book for middle and high school readers, if they can handle Freedman's honest treatment, in both word and photo, of the brutality of slave life and the Civil War. A bibliography, list of sources for the quotes, picture credits and an index make this an excellent choice for school research. This book will continue Freedman's reputation as one of the top writers of nonfiction historical books for mature `tween and teen readers.

About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: purchased for the library
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Format: Kindle Edition
This was a great book for Civil War enthusiasts and History buffs. The author was able to tell the story in a way that readers could almost feel that they were a part of the story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is well written. It gives a personal account of two great historical men. The book is very informative but not dry and boring. I couldn't put it down!
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Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship
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