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Seward had a hand in so many policies that he became a controversial and at times polarizing figure. Some of Lincoln's critics even saw him, erroneously, as the power behind the throne, the man who controlled Lincoln. But Seward's most important role was in keeping Britain and France from recognizing the Confederacy as an independent nation, thereby contributing greatly to the Union's ultimate victory. Seward was also a fascinating person in his own right. Most nights this well-known raconteur with unruly hair and untidy clothes would gather diplomats, soldiers, politicians, and actors around his table to enjoy a cigar, a drink, and a good story.
Drawing on hundreds of sources long neglected by previous biographers, "Seward" sheds new light on this complex and central figure, as well as on pivotal events of the Civil War and its aftermath.
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