While Lincoln certainly was, as he called himself, ""naturally antislavery,"" this refers only to Lincoln the private person; he was a moderate, a legalist, and above all a practical politican who refused to be pushed by extremists of any stripe into a position which might be untenable. The abolitionists in his own party before the Civil War, and those newly committed to the cause after the war started, had been demanding a grandstand gesture from Lincoln who continually put off issuing a Proclamation officially freeing the slaves. Mr. Donovan has probed both the long-range reasons and the immediate consequences of the Great Emancipator's irreversible step, and although his work is in no sense an expose, it does place the whole question squarely within the context of social and political realities-- border states and those already occupied by Union troops were specifically exempted. His conclusion is that the motives involved were first and last military and political, and only incidentally moral. An excellent historical perspective along with some solid assessments of a more transcendental nature.