Previously accessible only in the original 11-volume journal at the Library of Congress, French's diary is a splendid example of a 19th-century ``insider's account.'' Witnessing events in the nation's capital from 1833 to 1870, French was acquainted personally with every president from John Quincy Adams to Ulysses Grant. As a diarist, French is superb; his writing style is not only clear and lucid but, with a flair for the dramatic and the gossipy, entertaining as well. Personal accounts abound of Jackson, Webster, and Douglas, and French, who observed Lincoln on a regular basis, was present at the Gettysburg Address and in the room as Lincoln lay dying; afterwards, he was in charge of the President's funeral arrangements. The editors have culled about a third of the original 4000 pages, selecting those passages that best depict the personalities, manners, and events of French's time. An interesting account of the great men and events of an important period, it is recommended for academic and large public libraries.-- Jason H. Silverman, Winthrop Coll . , Rock Hill, S.C.