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Saturday, June 9, 2018

MATTHEW BRADY: PHOTOGRAPHER of the CIVIL WAR (Historical American Biographies series) by Lynda Pflueger

Published in 2001 by Enslow Publishers, Inc.

Matthew Brady (1822-1896)
Matthew Brady is most famous for being THE photographer of the Civil War, but he had quite the career before the war. He was arguably the most famous photographer in the world before the war and the war cemented him in the historical record.

Every American has seen his team's handiwork - one of his photographs of Lincoln was the model for Lincoln's image on the penny. But, if you are a student of the Civil War, you have seen Brady's handiwork over and over again - such as his picture of Lincoln conferring with McClellan in a tent at the Antietam battlefield, his portrait of Lincoln with his son Tad, and his picture of Robert E. Lee taken right after the war.

This biography is intended to be a supplemental reading in a fifth grade or higher classroom. I am a voracious reader of just about anything about the American Civil War (this is my 100th book I am reviewing with a Civil War theme) and I found this slim volume to be quite informative. The pictures that were chosen for the book were excellent. The book features 110 pages of pictures and text followed by a chronology of Brady's life, a set of end notes, a glossary, suggestion for further reading and an index for a grand total of 128 pages.

The maps in the book are accurate, but I don't think I have ever found a more worthless set of maps in a Civil War history. They are focused so close in to the action that the reader cannot see the larger picture. For example, the map showing McClellan's Peninsular Campaign is so tight that you cannot see how the sweep of the Army of the Potomac's movements and how this would have been a stunning attack on Richmond that would have avoided the bulk of the Confederate Army if it had been implemented more quickly. 

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5 and it can be found on Amazon.com here: Matthew Brady: Photographer of the Civil War

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