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Children's LiteratureA new title in the "A Day That Changed America" series, this reference text provides readers a comprehensive look at the Battle of Gettysburg and the people and events surrounding it. Told in story form, the work paints a clear, honest, and often disturbing portrait of life during war, one that a distanced, more abstract telling could not provide. Readers are there on the battlefield, seeing, smelling, feeling the horror right along side the soldiers who lived, fought, and died on that same ground. The text begins and ends with details regarding Abraham Lincoln's famous address and its delivery. The remaining chapters delineate the movement of soldiers, key events of the battle, and the eventual defeat of General Lee and his men. Excerpts from speeches of Lincoln and Edward Everett, as well as the words of other key individuals, lend authenticity, and information boxes highlight background and supplemental details regarding the American Civil War, children left without fathers as a result of war, burial practices, and legends that arose from both fact and fiction. The text, although highly descriptive and thus capable of producing powerful images in readers' minds, is enhanced further by historical photographs, true-to-life paintings, and artifacts such as war posters and maps. A glossary, index, and lists of recommended readings and websites are included. The absence of a table of contents, however, limits ease of use. A thoughtful, well-written work that will help students witness history in a powerfully real way. 2003, Madison Press/Hyperion, Ages 11 to 16.
— Wendy Glenn