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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Violence & Scariness
Photographs of dead soldiers; description of war and death. Lincoln's assassination is described. Lincoln and his wife suffer the loss of two children. The responsibility for the Civil War rests heavily on Lincoln's shoulders.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that with the use of black-and-white historical photographs and reproduced nineteenth-century art, Freedman has created a superbly handsome biography.
Is It Any Good?
Russell Freedman deftly digs through layers of hero worship and reveals the unpolished, moody, intelligent, and tenderhearted man who was one of America's most important presidents. Freedman understands child readers as well as he understands history and writing. Although he covers hefty political and social material, he does not mire himself in detail. He knows when to add an explanation and when to keep his sentences short and to the point.
The issues surrounding slavery in 19th-century America are not always fully explained in children's literature. Young readers often understand only that people were for or against it. Freedman accurately portrays the thorny problems that challenged Abraham Lincoln and the country in the mid-1800s. Children who read this book will gain an understanding of some of the personal, economic, and political ramifications of slavery and liberty. In the final chapter, Lincoln's assassination is described vividly but without exaggeration. Details of the final acts of Lincoln's life and of his burial are quietly moving.
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