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Mr. Lincoln's High-tech War Hardcover – January 13, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5 Up—This volume examines Lincoln's lifelong interest in technology and inventions and how he introduced these "new and useful things" to the nation. The 19th century saw transformations in transportation and industry, and many of these innovations were utilized by the North in its victory over the South. Offering an overview of the war, the book presents chapters on topics including Lincoln's pre-inauguration train trip to Washington in February 1861, the North's Anaconda Plan for blockading Southern ports, surveillance balloons, the ironclads, new guns and ammunition, and—most importantly—the telegraph and railroads. The lively, well-researched text makes it clear that Lincoln grasped the concept of "total war" and did not hesitate to exploit the latest know-how to ensure victory. Nineteenth-century photos, reproductions, and political cartoons appear throughout, each with an informative caption. Time lines and numerous sidebars treating topics such as the Emancipation Proclamation or Morse code are also included. An outstanding section of online resources sifts out sites of "especially high value." This book is a vital addition to the Lincoln shelf and an exceptional and novel approach for students investigating the Civil War.—Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel, IL
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* The prologue to this intriguing book points out that although Lincoln grew up using tools and farm implements that his great-great-great-great-grandfather would have recognized, his own generation saw their world irrevocably changed by technological innovations, and he was the only President ever to be granted a patent (for a device to lift boats over shoals). Well researched and clearly written, the book discusses the course of the Civil War in terms of the development of new technology, from the ironclad and the submarine to the rapid-fire, repeating rifle and the use of railroads to carry troops and supplies. When the telegraph carried news from the front and Lincoln’s orders to his generals, the term “commander in chief” became more than an honorary title for the president. The many illustrations include captioned black-and-white reproductions of  period prints, paintings, and photos as well as clearly labeled drawings. Sidebars comment on such topics as the mass production of armaments. A lengthy bibliography, a discussion of online resources, and source notes for quotes are appended. Readers whose knowledge of the Civil War comes from historical novels and battle-by-battle historical accounts will gain a fascinating perspective on why the war progressed as it did and how it was ultimately won. Grades 6-10. --Carolyn Phelan
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1180L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (January 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426303793
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426303791
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Deb HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 20, 2009
Format: Library Binding
The industrial revolution would transform lives, but prior to that Lincoln's ancestors experienced little change, if any. His father and grandfather's generations all accomplished things in the same, predictable manner, but in Abraham Lincoln's time things began to change. Inventions began to change the world. Even Lincoln owned a patent, "A Device for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals."

During the Civil War the use of new technology was of the essence as crisis showed Lincoln "the importance and difficulty of handling logistics-the art and science of getting troops, weapons, and equipment where and when they [were] needed." The Pony Express was out, the telegraph was in as he needed to keep in touch with his troops. He learned Morse code and wrote and read messages to and from his troops. Observation balloons were sent aloft to spy on the Confederate troops, even if they were difficult to control.

The "Merrimack" was turned into an ironclad ship, the first of many. The race was on to develop innovative warship designs. By land or by sea, the war was in a technological race to win the war! The Civil War was called the "last ancient war" and "the first war in which railroads played a major part." The rails would move the troops into battle or out of harms way. As weaponry became more sophisticated, the casualties mounted. A huge explosion blew up a Confederate fort. Where would this technology lead us? Was there no end?

This book gives stunning insight into the technological advances that Lincoln and the troops used during the Civil War. The usual imagery is one of hand to hand combat, not one of increasingly sophisticated warfare. This book is very well written page turner. The book is set up in double columns, has numerous pertinent boxed materials, is amply illustrated, has an excellent bibliography, an index and many additional online resources. This is a ten star book and well worth the asking price!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book ended up in a list of my 7 year old's top five favorite books for the last school year (and yes, we homeschool). I originally checked the book out from the library, thinking we'd read a bit here and there and look at the pictures, but after seeing my son's delight and interest, I quickly bought the book. I knew we'd be reading it for a lot longer than the library check out limit! We ended up reading all of it, in chapter or half chapter chunks. Yes, if you already know quite a bit about the Civil War, you won't find anything new in this book, but for grade school or even high school students, the book offers a good overview of the war with lots of interesting information about the use of technology used in the war. The authors do a very good job running the gamut of technology - everything from canned foods to submarines to all the new rifles and munitions. The book also was careful to point out the differences in technology adoption between the North and South, showing where each side was innovating and where they were lagging behind, and why.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is excellent for it's length. It is being used for a research project for the Museum where I work. Hopefully, by the next school year a series of story-lines accompanied by lesson plans will be available free for teachers. I would have preferred additional material on the use of military balloons; however, I was able to supplement through additional research.
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