Jefferson and Lincoln get the longest assessments, but John Adams and Washington wind up with the brightest laurels. Others of note: Madison and religious freedom, Jackson and the rise of the common man, Van Buren and the beginnings of political bossism. Some startlers: Monroe was a ""mediocre man"", Buchanan was ""mild as milk"". Personalia: Adams detested Hamilton; a Virginia belle, not Martha, was the great love of Washington's life. At times, better names, bigger issues carry the tales. In 16 essays the great, near-great and the small emerge, intelligently, informatively, aptly reflecting the temper of the times. Many insights here, for the graduate of text-book interpretation.