BOLDEN, Tonya. Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty. 120p. bibliog. chron. glossary. illus. index. notes. photos. reprods. Abrams. Jan. 2013. RTE $24.95. ISBN 978-1-4197-0390-4. LC 2012000845.
Gr 5-9–After a dramatic opening description of abolitionists waiting for word that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed, this title reviews the events that led up to the Civil War, examines Lincoln’s reasons for writing it, and details the role of abolitionists. Bolden makes excellent use of primary sources; the pages are filled with archival photos, engravings, letters, posters, maps, newspaper articles, and other period documents. Detailed captions and a glossary interpret them for today’s readers. Quotations from both Lincoln’s contemporaries and modern scholars also break up the text. All the visual elements combine to give pages the look of a scrapbook, making the title a pleasure to browse as well as a source of research material. Bolden has chosen to tell the story in a personal voice, from the perspective of African Americans and abolitionists, “who were pledged to universal liberty.” While this narrative technique makes for riveting reading and gives readers a greater understanding of the viewpoint of these groups, they won’t find much information here on the Unionist Democrats, moderate Republicans, or those who opposed the Emancipation Proclamation. Pair this with another title, such as Charles W. Carey Jr.’s The Emancipation Proclamation (The Child’s World, 2009) to gain that perspective.–Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR