Goodwin has done an incredible job of bringing together a ton of information about the personalities and actions of key "players" in the Lincoln administration (including Lincoln himself). It corrected many misconceptions I had about the history and personalities that I had had about that time. Her writing definitely gets you "up close and personal" with these important historical figures. I finished the book with a much greater appreciation for Lincoln and how important he was in keeping the U.S. together during this time. His unselfish approach to saving the Union was more than the country could have hoped for at this point in history. Plus, he would have been a great guy to have at almost any party.
Even though the story focused considerably on the "team," I still enjoyed hearing about Lincoln's upbringing, his road to the White House, and his treatment of his cabinet, his generals, and others.
She may not have provided much emotion in the reading, but she did a very good job of keeping the story going at a brisk pace.
There were probably many, but it's hard not to be moved by the "end" that's coming for Lincoln.
This is the way to learn history.
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.
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.
Tell us about yourself! I love to escape into a good book.
This is a fascinating account of a critical and nation defining moment in American History.
The abolition of slavery. This book details the lives of the men and women who played such a prominent role in this period. This is no dry academic look at history, Goodwin makes the period and the players come alive to make this a real page turner. Lincoln forged a team that liberated a nation from the contagion of slavery. He truly deserves his place as one of the most admired presidents of the United States.
After you listen to the book I recommend you see the film Lincoln and the extraordinary performance by Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln.
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.
Audio Addict! Usually listening to History these days. Love Will Durant most of all authors!
I have listened to this book 3 times since it was released. Having acquired in those years a better understanding of the civil war and it's great personalities, I appreciate this book so much more on this third reading.
It's a true "must read" (must listen:) regardless of your knowledge of the men involved. It's definitely a worthy book about our celebrated President Lincoln.
Doris Kearns Goodwin is truly one of the treasures of modern historical writing. The narrator- Susan Toren is absolutely perfect!!
I highly recommend this to all!
Businessman, Technologist, Marketer. Loves to learn and enjoys books. Mostly nonfiction plus historic novels.
After reading all of Walter Isaacson's biographies, I was looking forward to learn about the life of Lincoln. Water has a unique gift in making a long story entertaining, useful, and engaging. This book just shows how hard it is to do it right.
Listening to Team of Rivals feels more like listening to a researcher that wanted to communicate all the knowledge they have on a subject, rather than walking you through a story, the interesting facts, and the nuggets of wisdom we should learn from it.
Honestly, I was unable to listen to the entire audiobook. This is not a book for me.
Teams of Rivals is a story of politics, unlike most books about Lincoln. However, Goodwin obviously worships at the Lincoln altar, and the book is rife with ‘Lincolnesque’ wisdom and stories. I personally felt a bit hammered with the fervor of the author and her personal admiration of Lincoln and his words; there is considerable repetition. That said, Team of Rivals is a terrific insight into Lincoln.
The book begins with the biographical detail of Lincoln’s cabinet members and progresses through his election, Presidency, the American Civil War, his assassination, and ends with the death of Mary Todd. The story does not linger on any single historical event. It is a compilation of the behaviors of Lincoln himself and his circle of cabinet members, family, and friends, primarily from a political view. Attitudes regarding preservation of the Union and slavery are the primary focus. The genius of Lincoln and his artful manipulation of the disparate personalities of the men surrounding the White House, including Civil War generals, is the backbone of Team of Rivals.
Understanding and appreciating the passions and goals of others, and using this knowledge to his advantage, was his genius … especially considering he ruffled no feathers in the process.
This book is the basis for the Spielberg movie, Lincoln. Cliché though it may be, “The book is better.” , applies. The full title of the book is actually: Team of Rivals - The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Over 41 hours of listening, the book is read by Suzanne Toren. As an audiobook listener, I was more focused on the history of the time and man, and wasn’t distracted by the reading … so she apparently does a good job :-).
Christian, middle-school teacher, horse lover and rider, grandmother, love America, hate getting old, pretty good cook.
I didn't see the movie, but thought this would be very dry. In fact, the story comes to life and I was engrossed in yet another Lincoln book (I read the Carl Sandburg volumes many years ago, plus other Lincoln biographies).
The political intrigue of his rivals (and their in depth, personal stories) and of course, Mary Todd Lincoln...he seemed to love the nut!
If I don't notice the reader, then I'm happy. She did an excellent job.
For those who are fascinated with Lincoln, but think they've read all they can stand on the man. This book breathes a fresh breath onto the historical facts of his presidency, his friends and enemies, the Civil War, and his family.
A brilliant idea to tell the story not only of Lincoln but of his rivals to the 1860 Republication nomination, Seward, Chase and Bates, whom he courageously included in his cabinet. The copious excerpts from letters and diaries make the characters come alive. The dramatic story is worthy of any great novel. The description of the man and the leader that Lincoln was, is in and of itself inspiring and instructive no matter what one's social role is. Seward too, together with his wife Frances, also emerge as remarkably attractive individuals.
Suzanne Toren's reading is clear and engaging, and carries a dignified tone appropriate to such a story. I enjoyed it as much at the end as at the beginning. Her very good French pronounciation also comes in handy at a number of points!