I've read two other books while reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's book on Abraham Lincoln.
That is in no way a criticism of her book. I'm throughly enjoying it, but the lengthy and detailed account is like a rich dessert that occasionally must be put down. Having read a lot about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, I expected to find little that was new and yet the book is packed with absorbing anecdotes. It also provides a fascinating look at what the United States was like when a large segment of the country was devoted to preserving slavery. For example, a brief account of William H. Seward's trip from the free states into Virginia is both understated and powerful. [Seward's wife became so disturbed by what she saw that she persuaded him to cut short their journey and return to the North.]
It was a time of hope and madness.