Lincoln Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Shaped an Extraordinary Life. New York: Walker & Company. 97 pages.
Lincoln Through the Lens offers some needed variety in a plate of “Lincoln Lit” that has grown stale, and frankly, unappealing. Martin Sandler has laid out a visual feast and supported his argument that photography both revealed and shaped the life of Lincoln.
Text that is accessible to a wide variety of readers is a rarity. When that type of access emerges in a worn out topic (sorry, but Lincoln and the Civil War are no longer fresh) there is reason to take note. Perhaps the accessibility lies within each page’s organization as the reader is presented with a menu of choices. The choices include color, photos, and at least three different sizes and types of font. Or perhaps it lies within Sandler’s ample helping of quotations that further his point, or the meticulous inclusion of his sources and other helpful information in the appendices? Casual readers searching for morsels of information will be able to easily pick and choose the sections they like most. Other readers will find it necessary to complete the entire 97 pages. Others will enjoy the pictures and maybe even read the captions. All will benefit.
Sandler has a book that should be included in every public library collection as well as those of the middle and high school. A North Carolina teacher of U.S. History (an 11th grade course) could easily take this book and use it as a vehicle to cover the period 1850- 1865. Yes, they would need to supplement, but this book is that well organized.
5 out of 5
Andrews High School
50 High School Drive
Andrews, NC 28901