Lincoln Shot: A President?s Life Remembered

By BARRY DENENBERG

Lincoln Shot: A President?s Life Remembered is the one title that stands out from the score of Lincoln children?s book biographies published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the 16th president?s birth. Oversized at 12″ x 18″ and reproducing the format of an 1860s newspaper, it is best read sprawled out on the carpet, belly down, with copious time to pore over the antique type. Creative director Rich Dias and a production team of 12 have fashioned a newsprint facsimile complete with archival photos, historic advertisements, and Christopher Bing?s replica pen-and-ink drawings to create a special edition of a newspaper commemorating Lincoln?s life. The yellowed, foxed, and brittle pages lend an aura of authenticity as we are entranced by Barry Denenberg?s well-researched, matter-of-fact text. This simulated memorial edition opens with the reporting of Lincoln?s assassination, then follows the arrest and capture of the conspirators. Denenberg then provides information on Lincoln?s boyhood and his struggles with poverty, interspersing the text with Lincoln?s own words. Separating fact from legend, he presents a real yet flawed human being. Many young readers will not be aware of Lincoln?s early failures in business and politics, nor of his cobbled-together career as a postman-surveyor. Denenberg deftly renders the political climate in the years just preceding the Civil War, as well as the terrible weight of responsibility borne by Lincoln as the war unfolded. This handsome tribute somberly concludes with Whitman?s “O Captain! My Captain!”

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