The Duel That Shaped a Future President

Long before he was our beloved 16th president, Abraham Lincoln was known for his smarts and his knee-slapping humor. In 1842, his humorous writing style got him into a heap of trouble. When he clashed with his political rival, James Shields, Lincoln came up with a rascally mudslinging plan.

It was silly.

It was clever.

It was a great big mistake!

Shields was so offended, he challenged Lincoln to a duel!

Lincoln needed his wit and a healthy dose of humility to save his career…and his life!

Here’s a rare look at the more human side of Abraham Lincoln, and how his mistakes taught him to be a better man—one who could one day have the heart of a president.

Reviews and Praise

“A rollicking story well told with all the original color.” —James M. Cornelius, Ph.D., Curator, Lincoln Collection. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

Kirkus review—Excerpt: “Bowman’s upbeat telling is infused with folksy humor, and Schindler’s superb watercolor-and-ink illustrations effectively capture the time period.”

Booklist review—Excerpt: “Lively, engaging… Bowman’s conversational, folksy reader-directed paragraphs incorporate droll, dramatic, and suspenseful touches that will likely hold readers’ interest…Schindler’s intricate, expressive watercolor-and-ink illust

School Library Journal review—“Bowman adds levity and appeal through the use of a Midwestern dialect, second-person point of view, and figurative language that readily evokes time and place. Schindler’s illustrations, done in watercolor and ink, are a perfect accompaniment to this moralistic story.” (lovely review, but note that the dialect is southern or folksy, not midwestern, and there is direct address, not second-person pov.)

Sept 2018 School Library Connection review—Excerpt: “With a casual, conversational tone, author Donna Janell Bowman shares the humorous and troublemaking side of Abraham Lincoln. . . With many books focused on the successes of Abraham Lincoln, this title takes a refreshing look at one of Lincoln’s mistakes. Likely a story not known to many, this selection humanizes a celebrated man and solidifies his position as one of America’s greatest heroes! Illustrated by S. D. Schindler. . . Recommended.”

Photo Gallery

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