The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary
Schwartz & Wade, 2008 (2008)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
s we approach the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth (in February 2009), Candace Fleming's
A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary
', presenting their lives and times via (black and white) photographs, engravings, cartoons, letters, diaries, recipes, newspaper clippings, speeches, and other text.
fter a timeline of
The Lincoln Years
, the volume is divided into chapters introducing a
; telling of both their
Happiest Stages of Life
; covering the Washington years under
And the War Came
This Awful Burden
With Charity for All
; and finishing with
Blind from Weeping
after the assassination.
enjoyed reading about Abraham's favorite childhood books (like
), and his emergence from simple roots to study law and enter politics. The scrapbook approach emphasizes the contrast with Mary Todd's privileged, though often unhappy childhood. It was fascinating to read about Abraham's brilliant defense in a murder case, to peruse Mary's recipe for
, and to learn of her strong influence in his political career.
he civil war years are tough to read about, highlights including Mary's help for former slaves in Washington and Lincoln's Emancipation and Thanksgiving Proclamations. And it's impossible not to feel for Mary after her husband's death and her son's orchestration of her insanity trial.
n her Introduction, Candace Fleming tells us the Lincolns' story '
not only chronicles some of the most important events in American history but also illuminates the human condition of love and loss, failure and accomplishment, convention and nonconformity, determination and destiny.
' Her scrapbook format conveys this very well.
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