Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lincoln Through the Lens

Lincoln Through the Lens. Martin W. Sandler, Walker Books for Young Readers, 2008.

American political mythology gives John F. Kennedy credit for being the first president to use the power of televised images to sway public opinion. I came away from Lincoln Through the Lens ready to give Abraham Lincoln credit for doing the same with photographic images.

Martin W. Sandler points to Lincoln's deliberately mussed hair in one picture, the country lawyer's way of showing that even in his city clothes, he still knew where his roots were.

Lincoln thought a different photograph had a lot to do with his victory in 1860. In that image he's standing, using his height for added authority. "[Matthew] Brady and the Cooper Union Institute [speech] made me president," he said.

If you're at all into photography, pick up a copy of this book. It's almost as good as having the whole Life Magazine archive to pore over!

Lincoln Through the Lens is a Cybils Middle Grade/YA Non-Fiction finalist.

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