Holzer, Howard. Abraham Lincoln, The Writer: A Treasury of His Greatest Speeches and Letters. Calkins Creek, 2000. ISBN 978-1563977725 106 pp. $16.95
This compilation of primary source materials is arranged in chronological chapters, with the table of contents acting as an outline of what is to come. An excellent introduction creates a vivid context for the period. Many pieces are not in their entirety, but excerpted. Holzer’s vibrant writing is a fascinating mix of biography and political history that provides setup and commentary for each selection to put the piece in context. A wide range of samples includes poems, letters, and speeches (both famous and lesser known).
The editor’s authority of and admiration for his subject is evident and the volume is well arranged; unfortunately, some poor editing choices detract from the text. Photos are abundant, well-selected, and well-placed; however, in two instances the same picture was obviously cropped and reused with a different caption. Photo credits are inconsistent. Sometimes they appear under the picture, sometimes they don’t. A complete list of photo credits appears at the end. Including the original captions along with the page numbers would have been a nice touch. Because this is not the first book one would start with if one were to do a report on Lincoln, a list of recommended books would have been a welcome addition.
According to the credits, Holzer only consulted one source for this book. While he is the author of fourteen books (eight about Lincoln), one would think he would mention other sources–even his own. An incredibly detailed chronology will thrill teachers struggling with curriculum frameworks. Not a necessity, but a solid addition to collections where there is a demand for presidential biography, political/government history, or civil rights information.