Relying on the recent scholarly biographies that have argued that many famous Abraham Lincoln stories are myths, Freedman carefully introduces a more realistic portrait than is usually found in juvenile biographies. The well-loved tales of Abe (a nickname he hated) courting Anne Rutledge, splitting rails in New Salem, or walking miles to obtain books are put into perspective with a few sentences. Lincoln comes alive as a conscientious lawyer who put clients at ease with stories but was a hopeless slob with files and papers. Freedman also offers a concise but excellent picture of Lincoln's struggle with the ethics and the politics of slavery, as well as his frustrating search for the right general to lead the Union troops. The 90 black-and-white photographs are highlighted by fine book design and by Freedman's comments about the nature of photography in the mid-1800's. While the photographs contribute much, it is Freedman's talent for putting the right details in uncomplicated prose that provides a very sharp focus for this Lincoln portrait. Appendixes include Lincoln quotes from 1832-1865, a description of Lincoln sites, notes on materials consulted, and an index. This is a necessary purchase for all collections--and an opportunity for librarians to scrutinize earlier biographies on Lincoln that have long occupied their shelves.