Only a few presidential quotes or speeches have outlasted the test of time, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is probably the most famous and most significant.
Originally published in 1947, this pictorial version has been updated with a new afterword by Gabor Boritt, a Civil War scholar, in time for the 150th anniversary of the speech. The original illustrations by Daugherty are brightly hued and hewn and dramatize the 15 sentences of Lincoln’s speech with great vigor in a style evocative of Depression-era WPA murals. In another picture-book depiction, Michael McCurdy’s black-and-white engravings (1995) contrast sharply and are forcefully composed, alternating between the action of battle and the quiet artifacts left behind. Daugherty’s heroic tableaux attack the emotions with highly symbolic imagery. “A new nation conceived in liberty” depicts two men, black and white, raising a flag while another white man unshackles a beaten, scarred slave; on the right, a woman, her children and her frontiersman husband look on; above all, a bald eagle flies into the sun. The typeface accompanying Daugherty’s art is large and stately, resembling chiseled letters and matching the text. In a valuable, additional feature following the afterword, 15 small-scale reproductions of Daugherty’s interpretations appear above explanations of the imagery in each one.
A vividly visual interpretation of a still-momentous speech. (reproduction of handwritten speech) (Picture book. 7 & up)