History Through Photographs

History Through Photographs

Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman

I was a little skeptical at first about getting a book that calls itself a "photobiography" on my Nook, but when I saw my library had Russell Freedman's Lincoln, I decided to check it out.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the illustrations all looked great on my Nook Tablet.  I imagine they would look okay, but not quite as great, on a black and white e-reader, and even better on a tablet with a larger screen, such as an iPad, but the Nook Tablet did them plenty of justice.

Other than photographs, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.  To my pleasant surprise, a short biography -- about 90 pages on the Nook -- accompanied the photographs.  It turned out to be a concise yet informative biography of Abraham Lincoln's life, from early childhood to the White House and assassination.  The biography dispels a few of the myths about Lincoln, such as one regarding the supposedly tragic love affair he had as a young man (according to the biography, it never happened).

But what adds so much to an otherwise short biography are the pictures: photographs of Lincoln throughout his life, photographs of himself and his wife (they loved one another enough to marry against the will of her parents) and their children, and of their house.  The author does a nice trick of showing the photographs taken of Lincoln while he was president, to demonstrate the obvious signs of stress in his facial expression as the war progressed.  There were also quite a few engravings and drawings from the newspapers and periodicals of the time.

It's a fabulous book, not only because of the quality of the writing and the photographs, but also because the length enables you to get through it quickly, while still feeling like you've learned something!