Lincoln: A Photobiography Essay - Critical Essays

Russell Freedman


In Lincoln, Freedman uses several techniques that make the book beneficial for and appealing to juvenile readers. The author introduces each chapter with an appropriate quotation from Lincoln’s own writings. For example, chapter 6, “This Dreadful War,” begins with a comment made by Lincoln while traveling to Gettysburg on November 18, 1863: “When I think of the sacrifice yet to be offered and the hearts and homes yet to be made desolate before this dreadful war is over, my heart is made lead within me, and I feel at times like hiding in a deep darkness.” Freedman’s use of quotations reveals Lincoln’s thoughts and increases the reader’s understanding of personal conflicts. In addition, such passages add a very warm and personal quality to the biography. Through these quotations, students discover that history and biography include real people who influence the outcomes of history.

Unlike many earlier writers of juvenile biographies, Freedman separates legends about Lincoln from factual, documented accounts. He informs the readers that, although legend states that Lincoln had a tragic love affair with Ann Rutledge, there is no evidence that Lincoln had such a romantic attachment. Freedman stresses the belief of historians that the two people were merely friends. Other biographers often portrayed such folklore as historical fact, leading many earlier biographies of Lincoln to be considered fictionalizations of his life.


(The entire section is 581 words.)