Starred Review. Grade 5 Up—Part history of early photography, part Lincoln biography, and part documentation of the period, this slim book speaks volumes in both words and pictures. Each spread is a self-contained "chapter." The first few provide an overview of Lincoln's life and the role that photography would play in his career. Subsequent spreads are arranged chronologically. The verso begins with a heading and a highlighted Lincoln quote, followed by a page of engaging, insightful text with a small insert photo or reproduction. Captions for both the insert and the facing full-page image appear at the bottom of the page. The generously sized photographs reveal Lincoln at different stages of his political career as well as on the battlefield; his family; and key figures such as Stephen A. Douglas, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, and John Wilkes Booth. Historical drawings and paintings, broadsides, and cartoons are also included. The text not only offers a fascinating updated history on the eve of the bicentennial, but also includes many colorful anecdotes and quotes about the mischievous Lincoln boys, Lincoln's beard, and Thanksgiving. This appealing, accessible title will be savored from beginning to end.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
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*Starred Review* When Lincoln became president, photography was new, and he joined “the very first generation of human beings ever to be photographed.” The medium became an invaluable source for historians to trace the life of one of America’s most important presidents, and this extraordinary book is a tribute to the way contemporary and future generations came to view Lincoln. Beginning with a short biographical introduction and the first photograph of him after being elected to the Illinois House, Sandler goes on to cover a wide territory. Part biography, part history of the Civil War, the book touches on many interesting topics, including Matthew Brady (Lincoln’s primary photographer), Lincoln’s family, and several amazing finds, including a photo of Lincoln’s second inauguration that shows the presence of several conspirators involved in the president’s assassination, including John Wilkes Booth. The text skips around early on, but after that it moves steadily through Lincoln’s presidency, emphasizing the war. Every step of the way there are fascinating photographs, full-page portraits often followed by battlefield scenes, even death-bed pictures of both Lincoln and Booth. Although it’s the pictures that provide the “wow factor,” Sandler’s perceptive words have their own elegance. Well sourced and offering numerous ways to learn more (although, surprisingly, the fine Lincoln museum in Springfield is not cited), this will be an excellent tool for history classes; and browsers, too, will be caught up in Lincoln’s story. Grades 7-9. --Ilene CooperSee all Editorial Reviews