Anne of Reference Services recommends Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America by Allen C. Guelzo:
1858 was a congressional election year which brought a little-known Springfield lawyer named Abraham Lincoln and the then-current Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas together in a series of debates in seven Illinois towns. In the book Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America, historian author Allen C. Guelzo uses a variety of resources to bring these men to life and to resurrect their words. He provides a backdrop to these colorful events and discusses how they were perceived in subsequent years. The debates stirred the interest of people across the country, brought the topic of slavery into the open, and put Lincoln on the national stage. Lively and respectful, Lincoln and Douglas allows the reader to understand how the debates propelled the nation to face and eventually to deal with its divisions.