This is quite good so far, although I can tell I'm going to have to work to get through the first third or so, before the book gets to the point where it really pulls me along. I frequently have trouble getting into biographies or history books (and this is both), because there's nearly always a lot of background to lay before the book gets to the part I'm really interested in. (That's ironic, because I'm sure that's the way everyone I know feels when I start explaining something or telling a story, because I always think the background is way more important than most of my friends do.)
In this case, the primary topic of the book is how Lincoln forged his cabinet from his chief rivals, and how that strong-willed cabinet, under Lincoln's equally strong leadership, was an important factor in achieving the goals for which Lincoln is revered. But Lincoln isn't elected until more than a third of the way through the book. I know that what I'm reading now (the lives of the four main players, plus the campaign for the Republican nomination and then for the presidency) is crucial for establishing the tense relationships between the men, to give weight to the bravery and shrewdness of Lincoln's decisions. But it's not what I want to read.
Got this book for Christmas from my parents. It gave me perverse pleasure for my die-hard right-wing parents give me this, one of Barack Obama's favorite books. (Although I've been interested in the book since long before I knew Obama had read it; I heard the author on a local PBS show and thought it sounded fascinating.) We'll see how long I can resist reading it while I finish other things.