Here, from the author of the acclaimed book The Class of 1846, is the dramatic story of what may have been the most critical election campaign in American history. Taking place in the midst of the Civil War, the election of 1864 would determine the very future of the nation. Would the country be unified or permanently divided? Would slavery continue? Weaving rich anecdotal material into a fast-paced narrative, John C. Waugh places this pivotal election in its historical context while evoking its human drama. The men and women who figured in this epic campaign,most notably Lincoln himself,emerge with all their strengths, weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies. "It's an inherently dramatic story, and one that has been told before. But never quite so well as by John C. Waugh, [who] brings to his task the keen eye for detail and scene-setting that one would expect from a career reporter," said the Wall Street Journal. Drawing on an extensive array of sources, including published and unpublished reminiscences, memoirs, autobiographies, letters, newspapers, and periodicals, Waugh re-creates that fateful year with all the immediacy of a political reporter covering a national presidential election today.