Allan Nevins writes history for the intelligent layman, not for the scholar. And that he stresses readability in these essays on the Civil War accounts for both their defects and their virtues. He too often substitutes dramatic cliches and extraneous material, because they seem more interesting, for factual documentation-which might be duller. In the first essay, The Conditions of Statesmanship, after writing that the word ""statesmanship"" defies definition, he spends a good part of the essay trying to give the word a workable definition. At the same time, he points out-rather summarily- the differences between the ideologies behind the Civil and Revolutionary wars. The other essays are infinitely better and he discusses the major problem faced by Lincoln- how to preserve a nation-and Davis-how to form a nation. He also discusses the capabilities of the men surrounding them both and concludes that Lincoln was the only statesman the Civil War produced..... Nevins, who has twice won the Pulitzer Prize and has both standing and a following, originally delivered these essays as lectures at the University of Virginia.