Photo by Brady: A Picture of the Civil War

Armstrong, Jennifer. Photo by Brady: A Picture of the Civil War. 2005. 147pp. Lexile 1200.

Mathew Brady, a successful photographer known for his photographs of Lincoln, documented the Civil War in a way no previous war had been recorded.  Armstrong's narrative gives an overview of the war in vivid terms, with an emphasis on the photographs, how they were taken, and their effect. She incorporates dozens of photographs from his studio as she describes how Brady sent his photographers out to record battles.  Brady's exhibit of “The Dead of Antietam” in New York City in 1862 gave the public their first photographic view of the dead and wounded, a shock to those who attended. The New York Times described it as bringing “home to us the terrible reality” of the war.  Armstrong makes a case for the idea that Brady’s images caused a major shift in attitudes towards the war.  Notes, bibliography, index.

Reading Std #8: Delineate and evaluate argument and specific claims in a text, assessing reasoning & evidence.  Have students evaluate Armstrong’s assertion that the photographs changed attitudes towards the war.  Students could compare this book and its photographs with books about wars that preceded photography such as Jim Murphy’s A Young Patriot: The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy, which is illustrated with etchings and other similar artwork.