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.
Listen to an interview with Doris Kearns Goodwin on The Bob Edwards Show.
©2005 Blithedale Productions, Inc.; (P)2005 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
"The knowledge gained here about these three significant figures who well attended Lincoln gain for the reader an even keener appreciation of the rare individual that he was." (Publishers Weekly)
"An elegant, incisive study of Lincoln and leading members of his cabinet that will appeal to experts as well as to those whose knowledge of Lincoln is an amalgam of high-school history and popular mythology." (The New York Times)
This is a pretty banal history of Lincoln during the Civil War. I was interested in it because Hillary Clinton and President Obama are both reported to have both read and liked it. (And there are some really interesting parallels between Lincoln/Seward and Obama/Clinton.)
But there is apparently not enough history out there about the relationships in Lincoln's cabinet to flesh out Goodwin's theme. "Team of Rivals" is really a new marketing angle for the same old stuff.
I listened to this book and enjoyed it so much I read it on paper. I'm drawn to this era of American history, and love learning about the people who made the history, not just the facts of what happened. Ms. Goodwin came through with a non-fiction description of Abraham Lincoln's days before the war on up to his death. I normally enjoy fiction, but this was so well written, paced, and joined together it could have been fictional. I understand Mr. Obama is a fan of drawing together diverse opinions in much the same way Mr. Lincoln triumphed with his cabinet, the "team of rivals."
Ms. Goodwin's ability to tell a compelling historical story in a contemporary context is clearly evident in this relevant rendering of the Lincoln mystique.
DKG makes Lincoln come alive and illuminates the intricacies and subtle nuances of his psyche that remind of his humanity and his near divinity.
"John Boy"'s recognizable voice enhances the narrative and offers the comfort of familiarity.
I kept waiting for him to recite his iconic "Good Night Grandpa" line from the Waltons.
This book is amazing. I loved its depth and pace. I felt like I was there in Lincolns time and presence. The narration was well done and I was amazed at how little I new about Lincoln. At the end of this listening I felt as if I had been robbed by my educators. They never expressed or discussed the greatness that was Lincoln.
Lover of the written word. Or the recorded written word. Favorites are nonfiction, history and investing/trading.
A highly recommended book for anyone who is a fan of Lincoln, the Civil War, or American History.
Teddy Roosevelt is an amazing historical figure and this story shows yet another dimension to his greatness and his character. A well read and well written book!
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