Professor Randall's four-volume study Lincoln the President (1945-55) was, in his words, "conceived both as biography and as history." This book, Mr. Lincoln, is conceived as biography. It incorporates those parts of the larger work which deal primarily with Lincoln the man and with his personal relationships.
Here is the Illinois lawyer and politician as he viewed the world and as his neighbors viewed him. Here is the supposed lover of Ann Rutledge and the actual devoted husband of Mary Todd and indulgent father of Mary's children. Here is the ambitious rival of Stephen A. Douglas, besting Douglas and going to Washington as President-Elect, amid rumors of a plot on his life. Here, with his grief-crazed First Lady, is the President in his daily routine and in his continual crises, finding surcease in humor as he deals with troublesome generals, hostile congressmen, and politicians of his own party seeking his defeat. Here is the Lincoln of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address, the real person behind the symbols of Freedom and Union. And here is the man in his relationship to God, at least as he saw it.
This book does not contain the whole of Lincoln. Indeed, as Professor Randall believed, the subject is far too big even for four volumes. Nor does the book give a narrative summary of Lincoln's life. These pages do provide, however, a succession . . .