As always, it has proved impossible for me to write a book without considerable assistance. I have been fortunate, again, to receive advice and encouragement from several students of the Civil War and of history itself. For more times than he and she may want to admit, my longtime friends Forrest and Ellie McDonald read one of my manuscripts in its initial stages, offering countless suggestions that made their way into the final product. Both Pete Maslowski and Robert E. May continue to demonstrate their uncanny ability to make constructive criticisms while skillfully maintaining our close friendship of more than two decades. Lawrence F. Kohl again read my work, willingly sharing his deep knowledge of the period and helping to refine my ideas on Lincoln. Norman B. Ferris and Brooks D. Simpson also deserve my gratitude for reading the manuscript and suggesting numerous improvements. I also thank Trudie Calvert for yet a third time in offering superb editorial advice. For doing everything possible to create an atmosphere in which to work, I thank Kay Branyon, Loretta Fuller, and Julie Moore. Finally, to those archivists both inside and outside the United States, I know I speak for all historians in expressing my heartfelt appreciation for your help.
This work proved especially challenging. It continues my efforts to highlight the importance of diplomacy to the Civil War. The international dimension of these events has not drawn deserved attention because of the heavy emphasis on battles and leaders, and yet the foreign aspects of this era helped to determine the outcome of the war as well as its ramifications for decades to come. But even more venturesome was my attempt to deal with Lincoln. So many writers have written so much about the man that it becomes almost presumptuous to think that there is anything more to say. I hope to have provided something useful for those who enjoy studying Lincoln and his times as much as I do.
Nothing I do in history, would be worthwhile without the support of family. My parents, my daughters, their husbands, and my grandchildren, Timothy and Ashley, as always, remain sincere supporters of my work. To Mary