Thursday, May 7, 2015

Review: Abe & Fido by Matthew Algeo

Title: Abe & Fido
Author: Matthew Algeo
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Publish Date: April 1, 2015
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

 What's the Story?:

From "In early 1861, as he prepared to leave his home in Springfield, Illinois, to move into the White House, Abraham Lincoln faced many momentous tasks, but none he dreaded more than telling his two youngest sons, Willie and Tad, that the family's beloved pet dog, Fido, would not be accompanying them to Washington. Lincoln, who had adopted Fido about five years earlier, was afraid the skittish dog wouldn't survive the long rail journey, so he decided to leave the mutt behind with friends in Springfield. Abe & Fido tells the story of two friends, an unlikely tandem who each became famous and died prematurely. It also explores the everyday life of Springfield in the years leading up to the Civil War, as well as Lincoln's sometimes radical views on animal welfare, and how they shaped his life and his presidency. It's the story of a master and his dog, living through historic, tumultuous times."

My Two Cents:

Abraham Lincoln has always been one of my favorite presidents. There's a lot of reasons that I like him. He was a reader. He seemed to have a great sense of humor. He was very smart. He seems like he had some really fantastic life experiences and it's hard to get around that whole presidential career. In Abe and Fido, I found a new reason to love our 16th president. Apparently he was a huge animal lover, as am I. In this book, we learn about his history with animals. This book includes a whole lot more as well. If you're looking for a light historical read, this may be a great pick for you.

I was attracted to this book by the idea of learning something about Abraham Lincoln's life that I didn't really know about before. I loved that he was an animal lover and wanted to know more about that aspect of his life. This book includes a lot more about many other famous people who loved animals. I love history books that are off the beaten path and this but definitely fits that bill.

The writing of the book is pretty good. It's clear that the author did a lot of research. There is a lot of information on Abraham Lincoln and his animals, particularly his "yeller" dog, Fido, as suggested by the title. During Abraham Lincoln's time, Fido was so famous that after Lincoln was assassinated, people ran around trying to grab pieces of Fido's hair as a souvenir!

The book also includes a lot of other information about other people and their animals. While it's interesting, some of the information simply seems to be thrown in there so parts of the book feel like a list of interesting facts. I liked the facts but the way that the book was organized made it a little bit disjointed. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It is always fantastic to learn something new about a famous person who I've already read a ton about.



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