Lincoln's Childhood, for Children

Abe Lincoln Grows UpAbe Lincoln Grows Up by Carl Sandburg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lincoln has always intrigued me, and even more so since moving to the South and discovering people who still revile him.

Carl Sandburg wrote a classic biography in 1926, and this is something of a children's version of it, I gather. Sandburg's writing exquisitely captures the spirit of the nation during Lincoln's childhood years. This book covers Abe's life until he leaves his parents at 19 years of age.

Westward expansion was front and center, Lincoln's own father moving them several times from Kentucky to Indiana and Illinois. Indian hostility was intense. Johnny Appleseed and Mr Audubon make cameo appearances.

Besides this, I'll mention three formative events Sandburg highlights.
1. The death of his mother early, and arrival of his step-mother. This brought a higher standard of living and expectations on Abe. At the same time, his father looked down on "eddicatin."
2. Andrew Jackson's presidency showed him a backwoodsman could make it big.
3. Taking cargo on flatboats down the Mississippi to New Orleans showed him the wide world and the slave markets.

Sandburg subtly foreshadows Lincoln's later political life: the teenager practicing speeches, delighting in stories, and always reading and writing. Young Abe seemed to know the power of the spoken word, and he wanted to wield from a young age.

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