An exhaustive biography of Stephen A. Douglas, which adds another leaf -- and a vital one -- to the growing literature of our Civil War. A far more sympathetic picture of Lincoln's famous opponent than ordinarily presented. He gives us the man, the politician, the orator, the protagonist of peace through compromise. The subtitle of the book is Stephen A. Douglas and the Needless War. The biographer attempts to prove, beyond dispute, that Douglas's program of ""watchful waiting"" for the uneconomic and fast-dying anachronism of slavery to disappear, of determinism in the case of new territory, would have prevented a bloody and useless war. Across the pages pass portraits of the great and small men of the time. But Douglas dominates the sone, and the extensive documentation of the Douglas' correspondence helps build a convincing picture of a great man who failed. An essential book for the well-stocked public library. A book for students of American history.