Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (Abridged Nonfiction)
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
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Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president. On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires. It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war. We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through. This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.
History That Reads Like a Novel
How refreshing to read/hear a biography that is more than an isolated glimpse into one person's life. Thie history of Abraham Lincoln as written by Doris Kearns Goodwin reads like a novel. She transports you back to Lincoln's time and takes you through his life -- both public and private -- minus the cliches, and overplayed half truths about this most amazing man. The reading by Richard Thomas is perfect.
Absolutely dreadful abridgement
My beef is not with the printed text but with this audio abridgement, which is very poorly done. At one point we skip from a point before the inauguration until the second (2nd!-the first never being described) cabinet meeting about Ft. Sumter, with no attempt at providing a bridge passage or some other means of alerting the reader to the switch. I spent a frustrating 15 minutes rewinding and forwarding in order to make sure that the CD player in my rental car hadn't skipped a track. It hadn't. This is a very long book, and so considerable abridgement was necessary to produce a manageable audio book. But this slipshod job is an insult to the listener. If you want to read this book and not be more puzzled than enlightened, you'll need to read it the old-fashioned way.
Team of Rivals
Doris Kearns Goodwin must be the greatest historian of our time. In a single book, she has captured not only the historical context of Lincoln and his times but of the greatness of the man himself. She appropriatly focuses on Lincoln's unparalled emotional maturity at a critical time in our nation's history. I cannot wait to read (or listen) to her other books and I encourage her to continue to write about other great leaders.