This volume in the ""World Leaders--Past & Present"" series depicts the president of the Confederacy in both human and heroic terms. Baring the complexities that led to secession and the Civil War, King depicts Davis as a statesman/politician who was very much a part of his times, tragically melding noble ideals with consensus-building appeals. Born in a log cabin just 100 miles from Lincoln's birthplace, Davis was a passionate defender of states' rights who well understood that the collapse of the slave system would also be the collapse of the South's economy. His personal fortunes and misfortunes mirror the South's own. Commendably, King refrains from flailing Davis with modern hindsights or regaling readers with his misguided loyalties to a corrupt system. Balanced and fair, his portrait is full of sorrow for the waste that was the American Civil War. Further reading; chronology; photos; index.