America was at a crossroads in 1939 as they debated whether to join the Allies in their battle against Hitler's relentless march across Europe. As European immigrants the d'Aulaires felt keenly the importance of standing against injustice, and saw in Lincoln the archetypal American hero as he stood against the injustice of slavery. It was this spirit they hoped to exemplify in their biography of young Abe as he grew into manhood against the backdrop of the wilderness of Kentucky, the deep woods of Indiana, and the prairies of Illinois. Camping for weeks in Lincoln country, the d'Aulaires imbibed the spirit of the man Lincoln as well as his humor and good will. From his days as a clerk, teaching himself law reading Blackstone, practicing law in Springfield, running unsuccessfully for office, debating Stephen Douglas over the issue of slavery, and ultimately becoming President of the United States, the d'Aulaires have written and beautifully illustrated the life of one of America's most remarkable citizens.
Abraham Lincoln continues to stand as America's most beloved President. The admiration felt by Americans for Lincoln's humble integrity, his noble statesmanship, and his keen sense of justice are beautifully captured in the d'Aulaires' art and prose. As our nation celebrates the Bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, the message of his life, and death, is as timely as ever. Of our nation's historical icons, Lincoln is the quintessential embodiment of American possibility in his mythic-like rise from rail-splitter to Chief Executive and Emancipator of the oppressed. May his story live on.--Rea Berg, Beautiful Feet Books, 2008