Monday, June 11, 2012

Nonfiction Monday Book Review: Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind a Friendship, by Russell Freedman (Clarion Books, 2012)

Release date:  June 19, 2012

Are your tweens and teens clamoring to see the soon-to-be-released Abraham Lincoln:  Vampire Hunter movie, opening on June 22?  If you're hoping they'll be interested in learning something about this great American, beyond what's offered in the hilariously satirical novel on which the movie is based, you could do worse than to steer them to a new book on Lincoln and the great African-American hero Frederick Douglass by Russell Freedman.  

Russell Freedman is one of our best nonfiction writers for young people; an earlier biography he published on Abraham Lincoln won the Newbery award many years ago. Anyone with an interest in American history will be sure to enjoy his newest book, which comes out on June 19.  It's a joint biography of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The book opens with Douglass waiting to see Lincoln in the White House in 1863, the only black man in a waiting area crowded with people waiting to see the president. Freedman then presents the life of stories of these two great men in alternating chapters. Toward the end of the book, their stories merge as the Civil War breaks out. They only met on a few occasions, but they had much in common, and shared a common purpose--ridding the United States of slavery. The book is abundantly illustrated with photographs, drawings, and paintings, and includes a selected bibliography, notes, and picture credits. At just over 100 pages, it's a relatively quick read, and an excellent introduction to the lives of both of these important icons in American history. 

Highly recommended for ages 10 and up.


shelf-employed said...

Margo, I just reviewed this one recently, too. I agree that Russell Freedman is one of the best nonfiction writers for young readers. I love the unique way he presents this story of two iconic American men.

Tara said...

Oh my...I absolutely need to get my hands on this book! I could use it right away, actually, since I am just getting ready to teach about the Emancipation Proclamation. This was a fascinating frienship, too. Thanks so much for sharing.

jan godown annino said...

I like the idea of the intersecting paths of these two great historical figures.
Although the Lincoln book field is crowded these days, a new one from Russell Freedman, as you say, is reason to reserve a copy in advance.
Thank you for the alert.

PragmaticMom said...

Seriously, there is an Abraham Lincoln vampire movie coming out? This vampire thing is totally out of hand and I like vampire books!