From Publishers Weekly
In his more than 30 books, historian Meltzer has introduced young readers to subjects ranging from crime in America to potatoes. Here, he traces Lincoln's life and the development of his ideas through his speeches, letters and essays. The bulk of each chapter is made up of lengthy quotes, loosely framed by Meltzer's sketchy commentary, which attempts to provide a historical background to the material while allowing Lincoln's words to speak for themselves. Though this minimalist approach does allow the president's language to take center stage, it is also a drawback: the collection certainly contains some gems, but Lincoln's characteristically dense phrasing and frequent twists of logic are likely to leave many readers more exhausted than enlightened. Breaking up the text are forceful and brooding linocuts by Alcorn ( Rembrandt's Beret ) depicting Lincoln and his contemporaries; the artist's haunting visions of slavery are a highlight of the book. Brief profiles of the president's contemporaries, a chronology and a bibliography are provided at the end of the book. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Describing Lincoln as ``one of the greatest masters of the English language,'' Meltzer lets him speak eloquently for himself, skillfully selecting passages from Lincoln's speeches, letters, and other writings to characterize the man, follow the development of his ideas, and exemplify his achievements. Roughly half the words here are Lincoln's, with Meltzer's commentary setting them in context with enough specific events, telling details, and lucid interpretation to make this a fine biography, as well as a compilation of beautifully balanced prose substantiating Meltzer's assessment of Lincoln as a ``great mind and...noble spirit''--a political realist whose determination to save the Union was always informed by his compassion for the slaves. Included are 14 ``Brief Profiles of Lincoln's Contemporaries,'' significant figures from Jefferson to Grant- -writers, abolitionists, politicians; their portraits are among the many striking full-page linocuts adorning this handsome volume. Alcorn's art is a mixed success: some of his fanciful depictions of the era are clumsy or obscure, but, overall, they're moving and sometimes decorative. His portraits, too, are not equally effective, but at their best they are powerful and telling. An excellent illustrator's note elucidates Alcorn's philosophy and aims; a lengthy chronology samples contemporaneous political and social history; there's also a fine note on sources; index. A splendid book, for every library. (Nonfiction. 12+) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.