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Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty (Carter G Woodson Award Book (Awards)) Hardcover – January 1, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-After a dramatic opening description of abolitionists waiting for word that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed, this title reviews the events that led up to the Civil War, examines Lincoln's reasons for writing it, and details the role of abolitionists. Bolden makes excellent use of primary sources; the pages are filled with archival photos, engravings, letters, posters, maps, newspaper articles, and other period documents. Detailed captions and a glossary interpret them for today's readers. Quotations from both Lincoln's contemporaries and modern scholars also break up the text. All the visual elements combine to give pages the look of a scrapbook, making the title a pleasure to browse as well as a source of research material. Bolden has chosen to tell the story in a personal voice, from the perspective of African Americans and abolitionists, "who were pledged to universal liberty." While this narrative technique makes for riveting reading and gives readers a greater understanding of the viewpoint of these groups, they won't find much information here on the Unionist Democrats, moderate Republicans, or those who opposed the Emancipation Proclamation. Pair this with another title, such as Charles W. Carey Jr.'s The Emancipation Proclamation (The Child's World, 2009) to gain that perspective.-Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, ORα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Presenting a complex subject too often oversimplified in books for young people, Bolden’s account of the Emancipation Proclamation comes in three parts. Parts 1 and 3 are told in third-person plural from the point of view of true believers in freedom before and during the Civil War. While these sections of the book offer rhetorical and poetic expressions as well as information, part 2 offers a more straightforward view of events. As president, Lincoln managed to infuriate both slaveholders and abolitionists at different times. Bolden discusses with finesse the complex interplay of Lincoln’s speeches, writing, and actions with regard to slavery. Beautifully reproduced on thick, glossy pages, the illustrations include nineteenth-century photos, paintings, prints, maps, and documents and the high-quality printing often gives even black-and-white images tinges of color and a greater sense of depth. Lengthy, detailed captions accompany many of the illustrations. In addition to presenting the text of the Emancipation Proclamation, Bolden comments on its specific terms and its immediate and long-term effects. Many students, particularly at the lower end of the publisher-recommended age range (10–14), will find the vocabulary and the historical context challenging. Still, at its best, the language soars, powerfully communicating not just the facts about the Emancipation Proclamation but its meaning for those who cared most passionately. Grades 6-10. --Phelan, Carolyn
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Top customer reviews
I found it fascinating the way the author referred to slaves as "we." It brings a feel of unity, common suffering among African Americans both slave and free. I loved how she used quotes from prominent people of the time, both white and black. I also liked how these quotes showed a variety of opinions, those who supported Lincoln and those who didn't, those who wanted slavery ended regardless of the fate of the union and those who put the union first. The book is wonderfully written and perfect for sharing, especially in a classroom setting. There is much here worthy of discussion. I also appreciated the inclusion of the actual document (Emancipation Proclamation) and the author's taking the time to explain things as she went, helping the reader but not talking down to them. The author's epilogue explains her own feelings about the controversy that still surrounds slavery and the issue of who really freed the slaves. This is a nice touch in that it illustrates that history like so many other things varies depending on the beholder.
The design of the book is fabulous. The outside and inside of the book are made to look old, like an ink-splattered document from the past. Many illustrations were of primary source documents from the 1860s, everything from auction posters to political cartoons, photographs, paintings, as well as speeches and letters. The captions were well-written and clearly explained each illustration. A beautifully put together book that I highly recommend.
It would be hard for a student who does not have a sophisticated vocabulary and some background knowledge of this period to understand this book. But for your history buff - the student you are trying to challenge - hand him or her this book. Hand this book to a group for discussion - because there's a lot to think about as Bolden portrays Lincoln in a very "gray" area of freeing slaves and slaves rights and African American's place in society.
This book is complex in many ways. Bolden "frames" the book with a "we" - the abolitionists who are waiting for and have strived towards the end of slavery. The "we" is introduced in Part I and then resurfaces at various points in Part II and then is a strong part of the Part III, the final part. The vocabulary is riddled with idioms and savvy reader words. As a reader, I had to keep an eye on Bolden's thread (purpose) of "this was how Lincoln emerged/evolved and brought about the dawn of liberty." I started out just reading it as another history of current events leading up to the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, but I found myself unclear about where Bolden was headed. Once I remembered her purpose/premise for the book - Lincoln's journey towards clarity about emancipation - where she was headed was much clearer.
The primary sources in this book are STRONG. You could just read the primary sources and gain a deeper understanding of all the different variables that contributed to the complexities of the Civil War.
A good read - but for a very particular group of students.