This is the first of our book reviews of children’s/teen/young adult literature. We are currently looking for more people to help with this project. Please check out this post to find out more.
This is the young adult version of Bill O’Reilly’s highly successful Killing Lincoln. This book is a great addition to young adult literature.
Lincoln’s Last Days is split into four parts and then further divided into fifty-six chapters. The four parts focus on different aspects of “Lincoln’s last days.” Part one looks at the last days of the end of the Civil War. Part two looks at the conspirators and their planning of the assassination. Part three looks at the day of the assassination. Finally, part four is the chasing of Lincoln’s killers. In addition to the body of the text, there are several additional sections in the back that focus on specific topics.
I really liked the way this book was written. One of the challenges in getting young adults to pick up books on American history is that they are often written like textbooks. This book reads like a narrative story. As mentioned above, the book is split into fifty-six chapters. These chapters are very short, often only two or three pages at times, and they move the reader quickly through the story. One other positive is that this book is full of pictures. For a young reader, these pictures are a huge bonus because they make the history in this book visible. Even as an adult reader, I found myself enjoying the pictures.
Lincoln’s Last Days reminds me a lot of James Swanson’s Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. I read this book a couple of years ago. It also is written in a narrative form. The biggest difference is that it just focuses on the manhunt of John Wilkes Booth.
With its short chapters, engaging writing, and topic that is just interesting to begin with, Lincoln’s Last Days is a great book for any teen/young adult reader.
Lexile Level: 1020
Listen to the Prologue and Chapter 1 on YouTube: