Some historical figures have been over done. Some important topics are almost untouched. When the 2000 election headed to the Supreme Court, I was astonished to find virtually an abscence of information on the 1880 election.
FDR is overwritten, but try to find a book on his opponent in the 1940 election.
Pearl Harbor is overdone, but how many books have been written in detail about the our failures in 1942 that Midway hides. Who was responsible for the lack of material and good leadership in the first year of the war?
Lincoln has almost become the godlike figure that rests in his monument, yet after all the books, do we still know him? Historical writers seem to forget that until a month before the 1864 election, the war still could have been lost, had the Union forces lost the rather insignifcant battle of Cedar Creek in the Shenandoah Valley. Lincoln's lack of genius is often overlooked by his many biographers.
Some historical stories and figures from history become mythic. Lincoln, like it or not, has indeed become one of those, and if you are to give any value to Tolstoy's prophecy, which is mentioned at the end of the book, we have not even seen the half of it yet — Lincoln's star may very well still be in its dawning infancy.
History is more than the retelling of dry facts. History is, I believe, at its essence the passing of story and ultimately culture from one generation to the next. A book like this is invaluable because not only does it provide some new insight into the Lincoln cabinet and his personality for laymen such as I, but it also retells the story for another generation.
Education and the passing of knowledge is never a once and done act, but a continuous process in which each generation passes on what it has inherited and learned to the next. Doris Kearns Goodwin has done that admirably by not only assimilating a vast amount of material over ten years, but distilling it into a cogent, focused narrative with vividly drawn persons and settings that holds the reader from the beginning to the end of the story.
As for other areas of history being neglected, sadly that is often true. I can offer no response to that other than to say in that respect I agree with you and can only hope that others will pick up the torch to make such important topics more accessible to a greater number of people. Of course, finally, it ultimately rests with each of us to make him or herself the student of history who can be the audience for such works.
Sounds like a loyal son of the Confederacy. What you speak of is not Lincoln's lack of genius, rather the lack of Union fighting men and/or Southern good fighting men who were in the service of the Union and the good luck of the South.
There seems to be a new biography about Lincoln, Kennedy and Jefferson every month. It is a bit over done. The Lincoln bios are about the war. The Kennedy bios usually surround fictional sexual interludes. The Jefferson bios always fail to mention that he was vindictive loner but rather how smart he was. They are all the same. The Kennedy stories, especially, have become more urban myth than reality. I, recently, read an interesting bio on President Garfield, though.