I listened to Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln on CD last month, then followed it up by reading a short biography of Lincoln from the Penguin Lives series. [Remini's biography of Joseph Smith is in the same Penguin series of short biographies by notable authors.] It's worth a little reading to get a handle on what life was like in antebellum America, the world of early LDS history. And it's hard to read about young Abraham Lincoln in Illinois without reflecting on what else was going on there contemporaneously.
There are some surprising parallels between Joseph Smith and Honest Abe. Lincoln was from Illinois; Smith spent his five most productive years there from 1839 to 1844. Both were natural Western orators who used frontier vernacular and storytelling to charm a crowd or gathering rather than the flowery, polished discourse of East Coast preachers and politicians. Both spent a lot of time in the courtroom — Lincoln as a practicing attorney who rode the circuit in Illinois and Smith as a frequent litigant (as well as a judge on the municipal court in Nauvoo). Both ran for the US presidency, Smith in 1844 (he was assassinated while a candidate) and Lincoln in 1860 (he was elected, then assassinated while in office).
And here's some interesting trivia: In early 1843, Smith was in the Springfield, Illinois courtroom of Judge Nathaniel Pope opposing a Missouri writ for his extradition to Missouri to face charges that Joseph had participated in some fashion in the May 6, 1842 attack on ex-governor Lilburn Boggs in Missouri. The hearing in Springfield was a big event: Joseph the Mormon prophet was something of a celebrity in Illinois, at least for the duration of the hearing. Mary Todd Lincoln was among the host of socialites who attended court during the hearing. There is no record of Abraham Lincoln attending, but he no doubt became aware of the substance of the proceeding, if only from his wife. Joseph Smith was represented at the hearing by Justin Butterfield, the US Attorney in Illinois (acting privately, not in his capacity as an officer of the United States). An attorney named Lamborne represented the State of Illinois. Judge Pope (the irony of whose name was not lost on the participants) ruled that the Boggs affidavit supporting the writ was insufficient in that it alleged few or no facts to support the claims made by its author that Joseph was responsible in some way for the attack on Boggs (in lawspeak, it was "conclusory"). So the writ was denied and Joseph was free to return to Nauvoo, which was, at this time, bigger than Springfield. Quite a tale.