Ardent Audible listener with a long commute!
I suppose the first question you’re asking is “Why did she give such a highly acclaimed book an average rating?” Doris Kearns Goodwin’s ‘Team of Rivals’ is a fantastic, detailed history of a crucial historical period from a fresh perspective, but it is hard to follow as an audio book. It was, in fact, so hard to follow, more than 12 hours into the audio recording, I had to stop and start over.
Historical figures were mentioned and set aside, only to appear hours later in the audio. I longed for an index to find the names and their places in the narrative.
However, because I have a busy life and spend a lot of time driving, the chances were good that I wouldn’t have had the time to actually read the book for quite some time. I was glad to be able to hear it, especially to bring a historical perspective to the current president and his cabinet.
The narration itself was fine, but the editing was a problem. There were frequently long pauses, and I found myself wondering if I was coming to a new chapter; had a call coming in on my iPhone, or if I’d disconnected my headphones. That wasn’t the case, but watch out for that distraction.
I was surprised by the way this book pulled me in so quickly. The author's writing style made events suspenseful even though I knew from history what was going to happen. She built up the odds against Abraham so that you wondered how he accomplished what he did. You'll also learn a lot about his character and his contemporary's characters. The narrator did a fine job. With such a long book, it is important that the narrator's voice be expressive and easy to listen to and this narrator accomplished this with ease. Abraham Lincoln has become one of my heros as a result of this book. Beautifully done.
Don't you just love a great story well told?
Having seen the Hollywood film I was very curious to see the exact details documented in print and curious to find if any were changed or dramatized for entertainment purposes.
If you are similarly motivated and that is the sole purpose for getting this book you will be sorely disappointed. This is a very good book. However, nearly every dramatic detail which made the movie so compelling are NOT explained AT ALL in this book! To say the Spielberg film is "based" on this book is more than a bit of false advertising.
It's a GREAT book, that cannot be denied. It is amazingly well researched, brilliantly written, and beautifully narrated. It has amazing details on Lincoln's life and that of all of his staff. A reader will gain an understanding of Lincoln as person and not just a mythical historical figure. It is a good read if you really want to understand Lincoln and to learn far more than you could possibly want to know about his cabinet. Take the title seriously, this book is about the men in his cabinet and their entire careers as much as it is about Lincoln.
That said, it was intensely disappointing to listen to all that and then let the 13th amendment and any politics surrounding it go relatively unmentioned. When the subject finally comes up, late in the 5th file, the amendment's passage is presented as a fait accompli. None of the backroom politics which are shown in the recent movie are described. I finish not knowing which parts of the film are factual nor where the information for the screenplay was obtained. (certainly not from this book)
It's not the author's fault that they chose to imply a film was "based in part" (which part?) on her writing. Still, I must fault the publisher greatly for doing so and, in turn, setting up very precise expectations. The book is great as long as you don't expect it to have anything to do with the film. If you listen expecting to hear even half or a TENTH of what you saw.... then you will be similarly frustrated. (Stars off for misrepresentation on the part of the publisher and because the lives of the cabinet are not as interesting as Lincoln himself)
Lovely voice, but not the right choice for this book.
The abridged version of this audiobook has a wonderful narrator and the story is fantastic. Very disappointed a different narrator was chosen for the unabridged version.
Not being familiar with the team of characters around Lincoln, the book does a great job of presenting them...which is also it's weak point. Editing could have been tried. There are simply 3, 4 or 5 volumes here.
Seperate books would have been better and was called for here.
The best part of this story was the way DKG was able to weave the best of ...oh who am I kidding here; I couldn't finish it. The performance ran me off a great story...
This can was simply too much to overcome. At the beginning of EVERY sentence DKG simply inhales so violently, it seems like each one is her last breath.
if you can somehow blcok out the inhalation drama at the beginning of every break, yes. If not, buy the book.
I for one, could not.
No...I spent the first 8 hours in a bored, agonized state waiting for the narrative to get better, as the ratings for this book are really high. However, between the finite details that were irrelevant and Ms. Toren's voice (she sounds like an IVR response prompt - for 8 hours), I couldn't handle it and moved to the 3rd volume to see if the story got better. It did not and I'm no longer listening to the book.
As with the other evaluators opinions, I feel the narrator of a story predominantly about an all-male cast should be a male voice. Ms. Toren's voice was intolerable after the first several hours.
The minutiae of detail about everything....readings from journals that described everything. When used properly it helps to paint a vivid and interesting picture of the times. When overused it becomes boring, annoying and uninteresting.
I'd like my credit back on this one....absolutely no value associated with this audio book.
It was an accurate account of one of the most important times in the history of America. It was full of details that has never been revealed by any other author or book.
How Lincoln's magnanimous personality transcended his whole administration.
Her gift of presentation and knowing when to pause and how long to pause.
The true history of Lincoln.
Listening and loving it!
This book is masterfully done, expertly researched, and wonderfully read. The best analysis of the inner workings of Lincoln's presidency and character I have ever read, and I fancy myself a history buff. Lots of paeans to Lincoln have been written, as his was probably the most important presidency in the relatively brief history of the US. What makes this book special is that Goodwin puts Lincoln into context so thoroughly that it becomes easier to understand why he might have acted as he did, and what the consequences of his actions were, not only on events, but on those who came into contact with him. In a time of " me first" politics and politicians (and what times aren't?), Lincoln never let his ego override his objectives. A wonderful character study!
Part Time Soldier and Full Time Geek and Civil Servant... I love innovative thrillers and Science Fiction and Fact.
Find a different narrator
I barely made it through the beginning of the first few chapters of the first part. It is LONG and hard to follow this woman's voice.
Robotic, foreign, and seems mechanical at best, but so dry and has so many odd pacing and enunciations that I found myself drifting and not realizing I'd missed most of the last half hour I was listening to something else.
One of the most excellent biographies I have ever come across.
Abraham Lincoln is definitely a leader whose kind we desperately need today.
Choosing a female to narrate a book which is 90% about men and quotations from them is as questionable as it would be to choose a male to read "Little Women".