Cover image for Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass
Title:
Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass

The Story Behind an American Friendship
Author:
Freedman, Russell
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography
Politics
Young Adult Nonfiction
Description:
From the author of Lincoln: A Photobiography, comes a clear-sighted, carefully researched account of two surprisingly parallel lives and how they intersected at a critical moment in U.S. history. Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were both self-taught, both great readers and believers in the importance of literacy, both men born poor who by their own efforts reached positions of power and prominenceā€”Lincoln as president of the United States and Douglass as the most famous and influential African American of his time. Though their meetings were few and brief, their exchange of ideas helped to end the Civil War, reunite the nation, and abolish slavery. Includes bibliography, source notes, and index.
Publisher:
HMH Books

Clarion Books
Date:
2012/06/19
Digital Format:
Adobe EPUB

HTML

Kindle
Language:
English

Summary

Summary

From the author of Lincoln: A Photobiography, comes a clear-sighted, carefully researched account of two surprisingly parallel lives and how they intersected at a critical moment in U.S. history. Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were both self-taught, both great readers and believers in the importance of literacy, both men born poor who by their own efforts reached positions of power and prominence--Lincoln as president of the United States and Douglass as the most famous and influential African American of his time. Though their meetings were few and brief, their exchange of ideas helped to end the Civil War, reunite the nation, and abolish slavery. Includes bibliography, source notes, and index.


Author Notes

Russell Freedman was born in San Francisco, California on October 11, 1929. He received a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley in 1951. After college, he served in the U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps during the Korean War. After his military service, he became a reporter and editor with the Associated Press. In 1956, he took a position at the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson in New York, where he did publicity writing for television. In 1965, he became a full-time writer.

His first book, Teenagers Who Made History, was published in 1961. He went on to publish more than 60 nonfiction titles for young readers including Immigrant Kids, Cowboys of the Old West, Indian Chiefs, Martha Graham: A Dancer's Life, Confucius: The Golden Rule, Because They Marched: The People's Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America, Vietnam: A History of the War, and The Sinking of the Vasa. He received the Newbery Medal for Lincoln: A Photobiography and three Newbery Honors for Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery, The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane, and The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights. He also received the Regina Medal, the May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture Award, the Orbis Pictus Award, the Sibert Medal, a Sibert Honor, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, and the National Humanities Medal. He died on March 16, 2018 at the age of 88.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Freedman revisits the subject of his Newbery-winning Lincoln: A Photobiography (1987), but this time the 16th president shares billing with his friend and ally, abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The story opens with Douglass anxiously waiting to meet Lincoln for the first time to air grievances about the treatment of African-American soldiers during the Civil War. "At forty-five... he was a commanding figure, taller than most men, with a powerful athlete's build, graying hair, penetrating brown eyes and a carefully trimmed beard." Subsequent chapters detail the leaders' often parallel biographies. Both were self-made and shared a passion for reading, rising from poverty to prominence. In clear, accessible storytelling, Freedman brings the book back full circle to the pair's first meeting. Reprints of b&w photographs, engravings, political cartoons, and posters appear throughout (the most graphic of which depicts the hanging of a captured African-American soldier). Appendices, source notes, and a bibliography conclude what is not only the story of two powerful men who shaped the course of the United States, but also a brief history of the war that raged while they forged a fast but deep friendship. Ages 9-12. (June) ? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

"Heads turned when Frederick Douglass walked into the White House on the morning of August 10, 1863." Despite meeting only three times, Lincoln and Douglass formed a lasting friendship based on mutual admiration, respect, and trust. Freedman opens his narrative with Douglass waiting to meet Lincoln for the first time, then flashes back to cover the early lives of first Douglass and then Lincoln (noting several similar circumstances that shaped each man) before resuming with their first and subsequent meetings during the Civil War. Its an extremely effective structure that allows the reader to survey the tenor of the times regarding slavery, abolition, the Civil War, and emancipation -- and to survey it through the unique friendship of two of the greatest figures of the era. True to form, Freedman relies heavily on period illustrations and primary and secondary sources, breathing life into both men through a generous assortment of their own words. Many readers may be familiar with Lincoln (especially if they have already read Freedmans Lincoln: A Photobiography) but perhaps less so with Douglass -- a recent biography for slightly younger readers is David Adlers Frederick Douglass: A Noble Life. Notes, a bibliography, and an index are appended. jonathan hunt(c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* This handsome book opens in 1863 with a scene in the White House. Frederick Douglass, the well-known writer, editor, speaker, abolitionist, and former slave, is the only black man waiting in the crowded room outside Lincoln's office in hopes of meeting the president. After backtracking to tell the dramatic story of Douglass' rise from slave to free man to influential public figure, the discussion shifts to Lincoln, focusing first on his life and later on his conduct of the Civil War and the issue of slavery. Returning to the opening scene, the final chapters consider the men's different points of view and trace the respectful, increasingly warm relationship between Lincoln and Douglass through the remainder of the war. Freedman writes with clarity, intelligence, and a fine sense of vivid detail. He doesn't just point out that both these self-educated men had read and studied The Columbian Orator, he also includes the book's three-page Dialogue between a Master and Slave in the back matter. Also appended are source notes, a selected bibliography, a discussion of historical sites related to Lincoln and Douglass, and a list of credits for the well-chosen illustrations, which include period photos, prints, drawings, paintings, and documents. A well-researched, wonderfully readable book on Lincoln's brief but telling friendship with Frederick Douglass.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-10-Freedman tells the story of a friendship between two men who shared many characteristics. Lincoln and Douglass were both self-educated, born into poverty, and, through relentless effort and hard work, reached great success. Both men fought for freedom and equality for all Americans, both black and white, as promised in the Declaration of Independence. Divided into 10 chapters, the book offers biographical details for each man, an overview of the Civil War, Lincoln's changing attitude toward African Americans, Douglass's endeavors to create black regiments within the Union army, and descriptions of the men's face-to-face meetings. Captioned black-and-white photographs and reproductions are found on almost every page. An appendix, a selected bibliography, notes, and a list of historic sites complete the volume. Douglass's quotes are largely taken from his three autobiographies, and the Lincoln quotes, while taken from secondary sources, are from definitive and modern standard sources. A first-rate volume for classroom study and general reading.-Patricia Ann Owens, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass met only three times, but their friendship changed a nation. Lincoln was white and president of the United States; Douglass was black and a former slave. Yet they were kindred spirits: Both had risen from poverty to prominence, both were self-educated men and both had a book in common, Caleb Bingham's The Columbian Orator. In fact, 12-year-old Douglass was secretly reading the book of speeches and dialogues in Baltimore at the same time Lincoln was reading it in Illinois, and the appendix here presents an excerpt, "Dialogue between a Master and Slave." When they first met, in 1863, the nation was at war. Lincoln struggled to keep the nation together, while Douglass welcomed war as a first step toward ending slavery; Douglass was ever the voice of moral conscience, nudging Lincoln to do the right thing on behalf of the enslaved. In this slim volume, Freedman makes a narrative challenge look effortless. He tells the stories of two prominent Americans, traces the debate over slavery from the Missouri Compromise to the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott decision and explains how these events created a momentum that pushed the nation toward war. He does all of this in a lucid and fascinating narrative that never sacrifices depth and intellectual rigor. A marvel of history writing that makes complicated history clear and interesting. (selected bibliography, notes, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 9-14) ]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.