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Children's LiteratureIn November of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln journeyed to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. There, the previous July, the Union and Confederates armies of the east had waged the most cataclysmic battle of the Civil War. In three days of brutal combat over 52,000 men had been killed, wounded, or captured. Over the ensuing months the bodies of thousands of these fallen soldiers had been reburied in order to return the surrounding countryside as well as the town of Gettysburg to some semblance of normalcy. Funds had been raised to establish a national cemetery at Gettysburg where Union boys were interred by their home states. Hundreds of these tombstone markers bore a one word epitaph for these fallen lads—UNKNOWN. As Mr. Lincoln approached the podium he held in his hand a speech of less than 300 words. Little did he know that this speech, which was to be known as the Gettysburg Address, was to become one of the most revered orations in American history. In this concise illustrated work, author Burgan does an outstanding job of recreating the moment in which Mr. Lincoln expressed the heartfelt feelings of many Americans, then and now, regarding their republic. This is a fine book as it combines a well-developed story with relevant illustrations. Young historians will gain from this work and the way it has been crafted. 2006, Capstone Press, $ 23.93. Ages 8 to 10.
—Greg M. Romaneck