(New York: McMenamy, Hess & Co., 1872). 267 x 197 mm. (10 1/2 x 7 3/4"). Three volumes bound in two. FIRST EDITION in book form.
IN THE PUBLISHER'S DELUXE ELABORATELY GILT BROWN MOROCCO BINDING, covers lavishly gilt with a frame of interlacing floral vines, volutes, and arabesques, large allegorical centerpiece featuring Columbia sitting on a cloud, the Stars and Stripes flying from a lancet in her left hand, while her right hand clutches a sword, at her feet an eagle, wings spread, clutching arrows and olive branches in its talons and resting atop a book; raised bands, spines gilt in panels with large and intricate central fleuron, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. With 151 full-page illustrations, and numerous woodcuts in the text, including portraits, battle scenes, and lively depictions of key historical events such as the Boston Tea Party. ◆Joints, bands, and extremities a little worn, but a sturdy and pleasing deluxe binding. Some minor thumbings and smudges, as usual in children's books (not frequent, and never offensive), occasional mild foxing or corner creases, three plates with very small closed marginal tears (well away from image), about a quarter of the plates a bit browned, but still a very good copy internally, with fresh text and plates.
This entertaining history for young people was first published in 48 weekly parts, and is here gathered for the first time in book form. The writing style is engaging, and the author tells not only of important events, but also of ordinary people, both men and women, who fought for independence and to preserve the union. The illustrations include lively scenes of battles and Indian attacks, but also depictions of everyday life and the typical American home during various periods. Accuracy is sometimes sacrificed in the interest of an entertaining or dramatic tableau (as in the picture of Lincoln's assassination, showing John Wilkes Booth about to stab the President in the back), but, on the whole, the book is edifying and useful, especially to us as a reflection of historical writing for young American adults during the second half of the 19th century. (ST11462a-045)