I decided to read this book as I am interested in American History and Abraham Lincoln in particular. I did not know anything about John Hay or John Nicolay other that they were Lincoln’s secretaries and guardians of the gate so to speak for access to the President. This is the first book by Joshua Zeitz that I have read.
This book is not a full biography on either man, but delves more into the relationship between the two of them and with Lincoln. It does provide background on both men from their early years up to their death. They each brought different skill sets to the position of Presidential Secretary which has morphed into the current position of Chief of Staff. In the relationship, Hay often played the good cop, while Nicolay was the bad cop.
The only disappointing aspect of the book was that there was not a great deal of time devoted to their authorship of the 10 volume authorized biography of Lincoln. It was given a primarily cursory mention.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the two key individuals who guarded the gates for Lincoln. You will not learn anything new about Lincoln himself.