William Lee Miller is my favorite living American historian. If you don't know him, you should. His book from 1998, Arguing About Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress won the D. B. Hardeman Prize for the best book about Congress and is a book I've read and reread. I've read a good deal about John Quincy Adams, including the latest biography by Joseph Wheelan, Mr. Adams Last Crusade: John Quincy Adams's Extraordinary Post-Presidential Life in Congress, which is a fine book, but I've never read a better book on Adams than William Lee Miller's. (It's available for order now as a "Lightning Print" book -- this means a book that can be ordered, prepaid and nonreturnable from the distributor. This is a newish thing in publishing that keeps titles available that would otherwise go out of print.)
Miller has written -- to date -- two books on Lincoln. Neither is a straight-forward biography, they are instead profound considerations of Lincoln as a statesman and moral force in our history.
The first, Lincoln's Virtues: An Ethical Biography, traces Lincoln's development as a politician and political thinker, using a close reading of what Lincoln actually said and wrote to create one of the most thoughtful portraits I've ever read, not of a Great Man, but of a man who became great.
The second, only now out in paperback, President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman, shows how Lincoln, as President, transformed both himself and the office to become our greatest President since Washington.
William Lee Miller is a national treasure; politically engaged, a teacher of great reputation, a writer of great verve and wit, an ethicist and an historian of truly remarkable gifts. I can think of no one better qualified to explore the true nature of Abraham Lincoln and his unique place in our history.