Despite the ragged right margins (suggesting poetic prose) and Himler's dreamlike illustrations (emphasizing imagination), this is a stiff and mechanical biography of the little lady who started the big war. Johnston sets up artificial scenes and conversations, describes them in cliches (""Her eyes shining, Hattie rushed on""), has Harriet hating slavery in terms as stereotyped and melodramatic as any in her book, and, worse yet, turns the seeming dullness of Harriet's early life into dull reading to match. There is nothing objectionable or conceptually off-course in Johnston's handling of her subject, and in fact she makes a point of not exaggerating Harriet's importance. After the Lincoln quotation, ""Harriet shook her head. Many things had led to the terrible war. But she knew that her book had done a great deal to make thousands of Northerners ready to fight for the end of slavery."" This will do in a pinch then, but it won't rouse anyone to fight, write, or even read further.