This short and tasty book casts new light on the country's enigmatic 16th president and introduces readers to the range and wealth of Lincoln scholarship, one of the great accomplishments of American historical studies. The central concept of the book -- that Lincoln can be better understood by studying his friendships -- is sound. Unfortunately, Donald tries to gussy things up with references to pedestrian "scientific" models of friendship and attempts to see whether Lincoln's friendships match the models -- an enterprise of dubious value. Donald is at his best when he uses his formidable learning and sharp judgment to sift a century and a half of scholarship and memoir to give us new appreciation of Lincoln's character and achievement.
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