William Seward: The Mastermind of the Alaska Purchase

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Editorial Reviews

This slim title is part of the Historical American Biographies series, which focuses on the life and times of a historical figure who had some influence, good or bad, on the course of American history. Seward, as demonstrated by Kent, was much more than the man who brokered the purchase of Alaska from the Russians. He argued against slavery before the Civil War, was a successful patent attorney, served as secretary of state for presidents Lincoln and Johnson, and helped to keep Great Britain and France from assisting the Confederacy during the Civil War. Each title in the series follows a set format. The first chapter highlights a particular accomplishment or incident in the life of its subject. Subsequent chapters chronologically present their life stories, ending with a recap of their contributions, emphasizing their legacies. Other persons profiled in the series are P. T. Barnum, John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed), Douglas MacArthur, Edgar Allan Poe, Sojourner Truth, and Phillis Wheatley. The book reviewed here is written knowledgeably, with welcome chapter notes. Some titles append a list of Internet addresses for further research. Although the intended audience is younger, these books would be ideal for reluctant readers and perfect for classroom biography assignments. Their look is juvenile, but the salient facts are presented solidly in a manner that holds interest. Glossary. Index. Illus. Maps. Source Notes. Further Reading. Chronology. VOYA CODES: 3Q 1P M (Readable without serious defects; No YA will read unless forced to for assignments; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2001, Enslow, 128p. PLB $20.95. Ages 11 to 14. Reviewer: Jane Van Wiemokly SOURCE: VOYA,February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-A look at this fascinating man's life and at his contribution to American history. Although Seward is probably best known for his negotiations with the Russians for the purchase of Alaska, his service to America was far wider ranging. He was twice elected governor of New York, served as Secretary of State during the Civil War, and was responsible for helping to keep Great Britain and France from aiding the Confederacy. He had dreams of a Panama Canal and negotiated a plan to purchase the Danish-owned Virgin Islands. Written in a newsy factual style and illustrated with period photographs, maps, and editorial cartoons, the interesting text concentrates on Seward's political career. Daniel Cohen's The Alaska Purchase (Millbrook, 1996) contains a great deal of information about this event, as does David K. Fremon's The Alaska Purchase in American History (Enslow, 1999), but neither title provides complete biographical information. Kent addresses the American Civil War and Reconstruction, Seward and his relationship with Lincoln, and U.S. relations with foreign countries, making it a useful addition to most collections.-Dona J. Helmer, College Gate School Library, Anchorage, AK Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780766013919
  • Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Series: Historical American Biographies Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 11 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.29 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.55 (d)

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