MR. LINCOLN SITS FOR HIS PORTRAIT

THE STORY OF A PHOTOGRAPH THAT BECAME AN AMERICAN ICON

A fresh angle offering yet another reason to regard Lincoln as our presidential G.O.A.T.

A provocative study of Abraham Lincoln as a masterly media manipulator.

Infusing his typically clear and well-reasoned discourse with modern-sounding language, Marcus presents Lincoln as an early adopter of new technology, being one of the first public figures to understand the power of photography and who “loved the camera” enough to leave over 100 surviving portraits. Based on a broad array of period illustrations, looking at six iconic photos taken in Matthew Brady’s Washington, D.C., studio on Feb. 9, 1864 (and, in greater focus, at one in particular), he offers a visually based overview of the 16th president’s political career—from the earliest likeness in 1846 and an 1860 Brady shot that boosted his first national campaign by going “viral” both as a carte de visite and “morphed” into a line engraving for Harper’s Weekly—on to post-assassination memorial images. (The author makes no mention of various and possibly spurious deathbed photos.) Aside from confusingly characterizing the Emancipation Proclamation as “a watershed moment in human history” a few pages after dubbing it just “a symbolic statement” like the finishing of the Capitol’s dome, Marcus offers readers deeply enlightening views of presidential achievements and daily routines, of the era’s unfinished and chaotic Washington, D.C., and of Brady and other artists who depicted the president in various media. Everyone in the pictures is White except in occasional racially mixed engravings of crowd scenes.

A fresh angle offering yet another reason to regard Lincoln as our presidential G.O.A.T. (timelines, bibliography, notes, photo credits, index) (Biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 9780374303488

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

THE WORLD AT HER FINGERTIPS

THE STORY OF HELEN KELLER

Born in 1880 in a tiny backwater in Alabama, Helen Keller lived a life familiar to many from the play and movie The Miracle Worker, as well as countless biographies. There’s no denying the drama in the story of the deaf and blind child for whom the world of language became possible through a dedicated and fanatically stubborn teacher, Annie Sullivan. But Helen’s life after that is even more remarkable: she went to high school and then to Radcliffe; she was a radical political thinker and a member of the Wobblies; she supported herself by lecture tours and vaudeville excursions as well as through the kindness of many. Dash (The Longitude Prize, p. 1483) does a clear-sighted and absorbing job of examining Annie’s prickly personality and the tender family that she, Helen, and Annie’s husband John Macy formed. She touches on the family pressures that conspired to keep Helen from her own pursuit of love and marriage; she makes vivid not only Helen’s brilliant and vibrant intelligence and personality, but the support of many people who loved her, cared for her, and served her. She also does not shrink from the describing the social and class divisions that kept some from crediting Annie Sullivan and others intent on making Helen into a puppet and no more. Riveting reading for students in need of inspiration, or who’re overcoming disability or studying changing expectations for women. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-590-90715-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

TECUMSEH

SHOOTING STAR OF THE SHAWNEE

From the Sterling Biographies series

More a historical narrative than a character portrait, this account of Tecumseh’s efforts to create a tribal confederacy in the Old Northwest focuses on the great Shawnee leader’s many battles and negotiations with then–Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison and then his disastrous—ultimately fatal—alliance with the British during the War of 1812. Replete with side essays on such varied subtopics as the Northwest Territory, the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12 and the Battle of Lake Erie, it also boasts often–full-color illustrations from archival sources (many of these later paintings and old prints that are inaccurate, as the discursive captions often rightly note, and sometimes too small to make out anyway). In all, this will provide students a coherent view of events if not a clear understanding of Shawnee culture or Tecumseh’s heroic personal qualities. If it's not the 100-page holy grail of middle-grade biographies, it is still pretty close. (glossary, bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4027-6847-7

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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