Mr. Lincoln's Wars

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In this highly ambitious collection, Adam Braver explores Abraham Lincoln's inner life and personal turmoils -- while also reflecting on the indelible impact Lincoln had on the nation during the last year of his presidency. Braver brings the president to life, not just as the strong and resilient leader of history books but also as a grief-stricken father, heartbroken over the loss of his young son.

Across a rich canvas of truth and imagination, Mr. Lincoln's Wars reveals a president within the White House walls. We see Lincoln as he explores the meaning of loss through a chance encounter with the father of a slain soldier. And a good-hearted young Union soldier is quickly turned into a killer in the name of President Lincoln. Finally, there is the assassination and the autopsy, as seen through the eyes of John Wilkes Booth, Mary Lincoln, the assistant surgeon general, and one of Lincoln's closest friends.

Brilliant in its depiction of the country during the waning days of the war, this book is an insightful and moving exploration of the myth of celebrity and the passions it arouses. More than anything, Mr. Lincoln's Wars introduces a talented new writer whose storytelling ability knows no bounds.

Curriculet Details
48 Questions
41 Annotations
3 Quizzes

In this 11th and 12th grade digital curriculum, annotations include links images of the setting, portraits of major characters, and explanations of literary devices such as simile and tone. Interactive videos support engagement and cover subjects such as the history of the Civil War and biographies of major characters in the novel including Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth. The Common Core aligned questions and answers address setting and structure, along with the themes of the impact of war on all parts of society. Our free online unit will increase student engagement with rich media annotations while supporting reading comprehension with questions and quizzes that are embedded directly into the book. Teachers, please be aware that this novel contains mature language and violence, including a violent scene that is sexual in nature. Please preview this novel before assigning it to students.

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No More Time for Tears

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, was a pivotal leader and is pictured below.  (This annotation contains an image)
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The author chooses to introduce Lincoln to readers as a  
Before reading on, it is important that you understand the historical context in which the story takes place. Take a moment to watch the quick video below to learn more about the causes of the Civil War.  (This annotation contains a video)
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The tone of this passage is _____________. 

The Undertaker's Assistant

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How has the story's narrator changed since the first chapter? 
The author's use of the phrase "like a handful of photographs" is a simile. To learn more about this literary device and why authors use it, watch the short video below.  (This annotation contains a video)
The next question is going to ask you to use textual evidence to support your answer. Watch the short video below to learn how to use text- based evidence in supporting your answers.  (This annotation contains a video)
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How does Lincoln connect his son's death to the death of American soldiers? 

Zack Hargrove

Pay close attention to the shift in the narrator. The story is now being told in the third person from the perspective of a character named Zack Hargrove. As you read, think about how changing narrators adds to the complexity of the storyline.  
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From the evidence in this section, Zack Hargrove appears to have had a ____________ life.  
The map below shows the location of Annapolis, Maryland. Think about why this may be a strategic location for the military during the Civil War.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What does the fact that Hargrove had never seen a town like the one he is in reveal about his upbringing? 
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What does the treatment of the horse reveal about Zack Hargrove? 
A two-by-four is a large plank of wood. Pay attention to how Hargrove uses this plank as a weapon.  (This annotation contains an image)
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From Zack's point of view, the war is being fought  
Zack ultimately dies at the end of the chapter. Is it possible that he wanted to die and chose to charge the president so he would be shot?  

The Idiot Brother

It is clear that Thaddeus was born with some sort of disability. Contrast the doctor's response to the infant to the way individuals with disabilities are treated in modern times.  
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Thaddeus' reaction reveals that he 
The next question is going to ask you to identify a theme of the stories you have read so far in this novel. To learn how to identify theme, watch the short video on theme below.  (This annotation contains a video)
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Each of the stories so far revolve around the theme that 
The image below shows soldiers from the Civil War. Letter writing was the only way that these men could communicate with each other during the war. Pay attention to how families use the arrival of letters to indicate that their loved ones are alright.  (This annotation contains an image)
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The fact that Colin Murphy has not heard from his son for nearly a year reveals that  
Quiz 1 

The Willie Grief

The image below is a portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln. She was Abraham Lincoln's wife and some historians speculate that she suffered from bipolar disorder.  (This annotation contains an image)
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From the details so far it is clear that 
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The tone of this passage is _________. 
The image below shows a woman assisting two injured soldiers during the Civil War. This scene is similar to the one being described in the passage. What does Mary Lincoln's willingness to assist in the hospital reveal about her character?  (This annotation contains an image)
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Explain the role that women play in this story so far.  
Morphine is a very powerful drug that is used as a pain reliever. The Civil War occurred before the invention of antibiotics so for many soldiers with severe injuries, the best that nurses could do was to make them comfortable with morphine injections.  

His Stepmother's Sister

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How has the setting changed from the other stories to now? 
The image below shows Lincoln's boyhood home. Think about how his simple upbringing contrasts with his role as president of the United States.  (This annotation contains an image)

A Letter to President Lincoln...

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The narrator of this story is 
Photography was a new invention that documented the aftermath of brutal battles during the Civil War. The image below shows the aftermath of a battle and a deceased soldier. Imagine the impact that images like these had on people who had never witnessed war before.  (This annotation contains an image)

The Ward

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The narrator  
The image below shows a letter written to the wife of a soldier who died in battle during the Civil War. Often, friends wrote letters informing a soldier's loved ones of his death because early in the war there was no formal notification system set up for the next of kin when a soldier died. Why do you think the narrator keeps this letter with him? (This annotation contains an image)
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What is the narrator's view of Lincoln's role in his son's death? 
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Walter is referring to 
The image below is a pocket map of Central Park from the 1860s. Using text- based evidence, we can infer that the narrator and his companion are in New York City.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Why does the narrator want to see and speak to President Lincoln? 
Notice how Abraham Lincoln contrasts his life to the lives of soldiers fighting in the Civil War. What do you think he feels about this contrast? 
The image below shows a photograph of the aftermath of the battle of Antietam during the Civil War. Notice how Lincoln describes being impacted by images such as these.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Why does the narrator describe Lincoln and himself as "two lonely fathers"? 

On to the Next Field

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Lincoln affirms that he  
Many soldiers had to have their limbs amputated as a result of injuries sustained during the war. The image below shows three soldiers who experienced injuries that led to amputations. Think about how this would impact their future lives after the war.  (This annotation contains an image)
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The use of imagery in this passage reveals 
This image shows president Lincoln with officers at Antietam. How does Lincoln contrast with the officers he is standing next to?  (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz 2 

Crybaby Jack's Theory

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What does this detail reveal about Crybaby Jack? 
Pay attention to the details the author provides about Crybaby Jack that reveal the nature of his character. How does the situation the author describes in this passage reveal that Crybaby Jack is not a person with strong morals? 
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What does Cy mean when he asks Crybaby Jack if he is "still messed up from the night before"? 
Good Friday is a religious holiday, observed by Christians. During Good Friday, Christians remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. 
Recall that President Lincoln was assassinated. Watch the short video below to learn more about the life and death of President Lincoln. Then, compare the events in the video to those in this story.  (This annotation contains a video)
This is an image of the White House circa 1860. How does this image compare to the way Crybaby Jack describes the White House?  (This annotation contains an image)
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Cy's response to Crybaby Jack's statement that he feels Lincoln is in danger is _________. 
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Smith's reaction to Cy and Crybaby Jack is 

The Sad and Familiar Ballad...

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Why does Carson join the war? 
Ulysses S. Grant played a very significant role in the Civil War. Watch the short biography below to learn more about his role and subsequent political career.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1
Polly reveals that Lincoln was ________ the night before. 
Pay attention to how Carson reacts to the news of the death of Lincoln. As you read, pay attention to how the author uses elaborate diction to describe the circumstances that surrounded West's decision to murder Polly. 

The Necropsy

John Wilkes Booth is the man who assassinated President Lincoln. Watch the short documentary below that describes the circumstances of the assassination. Then, compare the events in the story to the events in the documentary.  (This annotation contains a video)
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John Wilkes Booth was a(n) __________. 
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Why did Booth choose a theater to assassinate Lincoln in? 
The image below shows Ford's Theater. Since Booth was an actor, he would have been comfortable with theaters. Pay attention to why he chose Ford's Theater to assassinate Lincoln.  (This annotation contains an image)
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How does Booth's plan to assassinate Lincoln begin to deteriorate?  
This iconic image shows Booth assassinating President Lincoln. As you read, think about how this image compares to the events in the story.  (This annotation contains an image)
The image below is a poster advertising "Our American Cousin." This poster advertises that Lincoln will be present in the theater. Do you think this is wise?  (This annotation contains an image)
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Booth feels that the play 
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Booth's father was a(n) ____________. 
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How does the scent of the morning contrast to the events that are taking place? 
The image below is a portrait of Orville Browning. What does Browning's reaction reveal about his relationship with Lincoln? (This annotation contains an image)
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Why doesn't Lincoln confide in his wife about his problems? 
Knowing these details about Mary Todd Lincoln, how do you think she will respond to Lincoln's assassination? 
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Stanton sees Abraham Lincoln's death as   
Mary's heavy breathing indicates that her emotional state is not very stable. Think about all of the reasons Mrs. Lincoln has to be upset at this moment.  
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How does Mary's reaction reveal her current emotional state? 
Pay attention to how people are treating Mary Todd Lincoln. Why are people so concerned about her? 
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Who is Mary talking to? 
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Mary Lincoln claims that the only thing she wants is 
The medical field was much different in the 1860s than it is now. The image below shows doctors operating on a patient in a classroom. What do you notice is different about this operating room than operating rooms today?  (This annotation contains an image)
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Dr. Curtis feels 
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The doctors are probably hesitating because 
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At this point, Lincoln is 
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Washington says that 
Watch the short video below to learn about the Emancipation Proclamation and its role in freeing American slaves. Why do you think this proclamation made some people upset?  (This annotation contains a video)
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The reference to Henry V is an allusion to 
The image below shows Booth being fired upon in the barn.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What does Booth's reaction reveal about his state of mind while he is in the burning barn? 

A Rainy Night in Springfield,...

The image below shows the location of Springfield, Illinois. As you read, think about how much Lincoln's early life contrasts with his life as president.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Lincoln views his childhood with ________. 
This is an image of Robert Todd Lincoln. Robert Lincoln followed his father's footsteps and became a lawyer and worked in politics.  (This annotation contains an image)
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In this case, "mug" refers to someone's _______. 
Quiz 3