As the United States moves into the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, I thought I should learn about our 16th President and one of our best commanders-in-chief. Ronald White's recent biography of Abraham Lincoln, one of several volumes published to coincide with the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth is a truly outstanding book. I normally don't read a lot of biographies, but this book made me glad I did. White tells the story of Lincoln in great, but not plodding detail and he really does a marvelous job of letting Lincoln tell his own story through his writings speeches. This is probably the biggest strength of the book, as White steps the reader through the development of some of Lincoln's best known works- his first and second Inaugural Addresses, his second Address to Congress, and of course, the Gettysburg Address and Emancipation Proclamation.
White also does an excellent job of showcasing Lincoln's skills as a politician and executive, particularly his management of his occasionally contentious Cabinet members and his prickly generals of the Army of the Potomac.
In short, this is what biography should be, a well put together volume that lets the subject do most of the talking...I highly recommend it.