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From The CriticsHarold Holzer explains the presidency and ultimate demise of one of the starkest icons in American history. He describes Lincoln as a man who, after a short career in the House of Representatives, was thrust back into politics when he learned of a piece of legislation that threatened to expand the role of slavery. Though unsuccessful at first, he finally won the nomination, and eventual presidency. Holzer reveals, in mature yet undaunting prose, that, as much as Lincoln was revered in the North, he was equally despised in the South. The author ushers in the names of the conspirators and their plot to kidnap Lincoln. The first family is also profiled. The personal grief of the Lincoln family, coupled with the war that plagued the nation on so many different fronts, deepened the eyes and the moods of the president. The book is peppered with pictures and illustrations. We know the unfortunate outcome of the shot speared through Booth's pistol, but Holzer does, what I assume any good historian does, ends with a couple of what ifs. 2004, Boyds Mills Press, 144 pp., Ages young adult.
—Edward A. Wade