Lincoln Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Shaped an Extraordinary Life

Lincoln Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Shaped an Extraordinary Life

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by Martin W. Sandler
     
 

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He was born in the backwoods of Kentucky in a humble log cabin, but Abraham Lincoln was savvy enough to embrace the new technology of his time—photography—to propel him all the way to the White House. This simple man with lofty goals was willing to use any means necessary, including the power of photography, to save the union and free the

Overview

He was born in the backwoods of Kentucky in a humble log cabin, but Abraham Lincoln was savvy enough to embrace the new technology of his time—photography—to propel him all the way to the White House. This simple man with lofty goals was willing to use any means necessary, including the power of photography, to save the union and free the slaves—leaving behind an unmatched legacy of sacrifice, service, and achievement.

More than one hundred images of Lincoln's life and times provide a complete portrait of this revered president and the events that defined him. From the only confirmed existing picture of Lincoln before the historic Gettysburg Address to his second inauguration—where he is unknowingly surrounded by John Wilkes Booth and his coconspirators—to the execution of his murderers, this eye-opening, inspiring visual journey provides a fresh take on one of the most documented and beloved figures in American history.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jennie DeGenaro
Abraham Lincoln was one of America's most revered presidents. He was born in a log cabin. Neither of his parents could read or write. Lincoln attended school for a total of one year. He once walked twenty miles to borrow a book. After studying three years, he became a lawyer and worked with a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. He married Mary Todd, an educated woman from a well-to-do-family. He was elected to U.S. Congress in 1846. Lincoln was heartsick when he saw slaves in chains. Another heartbreak was when his children died young. Lincoln welcomed having his picture taken and ruffled his hair so it would look like the common man he identified with. He never wore fancy clothes. When Lincoln was elected president, there were threats against his life. He was advised to leave the train, dress like a poor farmer, and go to the capitol. That is the way the sixteenth president entered the capitol—under cover of darkness. Full-page pictures of Lincoln and significant locations face a full page of text. Quotations from Lincoln are included. Lincoln credited photographers for helping shape his destiny. He gave credit to one photograph for "getting him in the White House." Lincoln described himself as "6'4", lean in flesh weighing average 180 pounds, dark complexion, coarse black hair and grey eyes." When John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln, the largest reward ever offered was advertised for finding his murderer. This well-researched, interesting book should be available for all school children to read when they are studying Abraham Lincoln. Reviewer: Jennie DeGenaro
VOYA - Amy Fiske
Sandler examines Abraham Lincoln's life and political career through the medium of photography. Divided into short sections, the book chronicles key moments in Lincoln's life through text and quotations, with supporting full-bleed photography on the facing pages. Sandler makes equal use of primary source material and the work of historians. The well-researched book includes many photos of historic events as well as portraits of Lincoln. Perhaps the most arresting piece is an eerily prescient photograph taken at Lincoln's second inauguration. Lincoln's image is absent from the photo, wiped clean by a smudged fingerprint on the negative. Even more startling are the recognizable images of John Wilkes Booth and five of the conspirators involved in Lincoln's assassination. In addition to chronicling Lincoln's political career, the book illustrates the rise of photography as a documentary resource. Photography brought previously unimagined intimacy to recorded events. For the first time in history, people could see the leaders and events that were reported. Political leaders became more human and less mythic. Corpses stacked on a battlefield exposed the ugly reality of war. One particularly poignant detail is how the photos of Lincoln reveal the toll of office over time. This human approach will help to personalize history for even the most reluctant students. Readers will get a clear sense of Lincoln the man, Lincoln's place in history, and photography's place in history. Reviewer: Amy Fiske
School Library Journal

Gr 5 Up

Part history of early photography, part Lincoln biography, and part documentation of the period, this slim book speaks volumes in both words and pictures. Each spread is a self-contained "chapter." The first few provide an overview of Lincoln's life and the role that photography would play in his career. Subsequent spreads are arranged chronologically. The verso begins with a heading and a highlighted Lincoln quote, followed by a page of engaging, insightful text with a small insert photo or reproduction. Captions for both the insert and the facing full-page image appear at the bottom of the page. The generously sized photographs reveal Lincoln at different stages of his political career as well as on the battlefield; his family; and key figures such as Stephen A. Douglas, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, and John Wilkes Booth. Historical drawings and paintings, broadsides, and cartoons are also included. The text not only offers a fascinating updated history on the eve of the bicentennial, but also includes many colorful anecdotes and quotes about the mischievous Lincoln boys, Lincoln's beard, and Thanksgiving. This appealing, accessible title will be savored from beginning to end.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools

Kirkus Reviews
"It was through the camera that the most remarkable events in Abraham Lincoln's life were revealed, events that not only disclosed but shaped his life as well." The lenses of Matthew Brady, his proteges and other photographers captured extraordinary images of Lincoln and the era, including Lincoln's involvement with the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War, the transcontinental railroad and the Gettysburg Address. The history and power of the photograph (first introduced in the late 1830s) is aptly showcased in this heavily illustrated volume, which demonstrates how the medium affected the public's understanding of both Lincoln-who fully understood its power to shape impressions-and the war, while Sandler's informative and accessible text moves thematically through time. A fuller picture of Lincoln and his presidency can be found in Candace Fleming's The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary (2008), but Sandler offers a valuable and interesting perspective that stands as an essential purchase for libraries, especially during the Lincoln Bicentennial celebration. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802796660
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
09/30/2008
Series:
Through the Lens Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
1,186,999
Product dimensions:
10.40(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
1210L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Martin W. Sandler is the author of more than sixty books, two of which have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Among his other books are The Story of American Photography, which was named a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Honor Book, and the six volumes in his award-winning Library of Congress history series for young people, which has sold more than 500,000 copies. Mr. Sandler is also a respected television writer and producer, with five Emmy Awards to his credit. He has taught American history and American studies at the University of Massachusetts and Smith College. He lives with his wife in Cotuit, Massachusetts.

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