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 was the result of a character that had been forged by life experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because hepossessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.
This capacity enabled President Lincoln to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to preserve the Union and win the war.
©2006 Doris Kearns Goodwin (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
"An elegant, incisive study....Goodwin has brilliantly described how Lincoln forged a team that preserved a nation and freed America from the curse of slavery." (James M. McPherson, The New York Times Book Review)
"Goodwin's narrative abilities...are on full display here, and she does an enthralling job of dramatizing...crucial moments in Lincoln's life....A portrait of Lincoln as a virtuosic politician and managerial genius." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
"Splendid, beautifully written....Goodwin has brilliantly woven scores of contemporary accounts...into a fluid narrative....This is the most richly detailed account of the Civil War presidency to appear in many years." (John Rhodehamel, Los Angeles Times)
Absolutely amazing. Doris Kearns Goodwin's narrative of the political genius, magnetic personality, and overwhelming empathy of Abraham Lincoln is an astounding work of both scholarship and literature. Delving deep into federal, state, and personal archives, and grappling continually with both the accounts of his contemporaries and the scholarship since, Goodwin has woven a beautiful, powerful, and compelling story which does due justice to Lincoln as a statesman, commander, and (most importantly) a person. The miniature narratives within the larger piece, laying out the peculiarities and personalities of the other players (Seward, Stanton, Chase, Bates, Welles, and Blair, primarily), rather than distracting from the central character, add a depth and versatility to the story which explain many of Lincoln's actions--and in doing so enhance the reader's understanding of this singularly great man.
Moreover, the performance by Suzanne Toren is equally impressive, managing a pace and tone which complement Goodwin's prose. Recognizing Lincoln and others' ability to find humor in the darkest of situations, and to move between gravity and comedy as is best needed by the situation, Goodwin and Toren convey the liveliness and humanity, as well as the superhuman capabilities, of these great players of the Civil War.
Those interested in the Civil War, history of the Constitution, the political life of the nation, or in Lincoln will both appreciate and thoroughly enjoy this book; and, if one also enjoys a good audio book, this also comes highly recommended.
To say I loved this book would be an understatement. I enjoy history but by no means consider myself a student of history, but this story awoke in me an intense interest in this period of our country's history and the history of the office of the President. This account of the life of Lincoln has unlocked for me a love of history I did not know existed. Incredible man, incredible life, incredible circumstances and Doris Kearns Goodwin captures it all. Don't be scared off by the length of the book, it will fly by. Do it!
So this is a long book (41 hours) and I listened almost incessantly the last week. In contrast with a recent book about Churchill which felt like a chore and took me months to get through, I found this very engaging. It was interesting to get the different perspectives and comparisons with Lincoln's associates. I would right peers, but the man was peerless. After listening to this I am thinking of getting the audio book of Lincoln's debates with Douglas. His word choice was so specific and reasoned arguments are something to learn from. If I could demonstrate his level of empathy and thoughtfulness I would be better for it.
The 1st part where you are taken through the background of the cabinet members is a boring but necessary trip. Once past this the book does not fail to please. You gain a lot of respect for this President.
I am an eclectic person who loves to learn.
I could listen to this book over and over and never tire of the subject. It so very well written,researched, and read. Absolutely a stunning look into the time of Lincoln. I will never look at President Lincoln the same way again. This story is so important to being an American.
The film was already made of only a part of the book. Another movie could easily be made about Lincoln's journey to becoming President. This movie would not need a tag line. Lincoln's name is strong enough to attract an audience.
We need to learn how to use teams of rivals in our work today. It is a skill true leaders must aspire to.
Situation after situation demonstrates what it means to have an internal moral compass.
This book would generate excellent discussions if read in a book club or book group.
Ms Goodwin is brilliant in including the stories of the Rivals along with Lincoln's. It was fascinating to learn of the lives and times of some of the most important people in and near our government at that critical time, as well as the various schools of thought. The book brought to the fore Abraham Lincoln's genius and greatness. Ms Toren's voice was a pleasure to hear. My life is enriched for having listened to this book. I will now buy the hard copy (which I wish I had while listening) to peruse from time to time.
S Toren's voice is sophisticated and most pleasing - I looked forward to hearing it as I do certain pieces of music, She is facile in her pronunciation of complicated or unusual words including French. Her voice changes in tempo, softness/loudness to fit what she is reading.
This book was too long to listen to in one sitting - although very had to put down. I listened to it at every opportunity and was sad when it ended.
Guess I'm in the minority, but was WAY less impressed than most "readers". Thought there was too much unimportant detail. I definitely learned why Lincoln was so great a man, but had expected as good a biography as Truman or Katherine Graham, but was anxious for book to end, and didn't mind quickly grazing over sections.
I have been an active audio book listener for the past 15 years. I listen mainly to non fiction
I have listened and read many book on the civil war and Lincoln but this is hands down the best. I had been debating getting this title because so much has been written about Lincoln and still yet another Lincoln book did not interest me.
I found out that the movie "LIncoln" was based on this book and very much enjoyed the movie. The premise of the book about the team that Lincoln put together was very interesting.
I have always been very fond of Lincoln, but after listening to this book, my respect for the man has increased 10 fold. Doris Kearns Goodwin makes Lincoln come alive in ways I did not expect. The political genius of Abraham Lincoln is something that I had not realized. I knew that he was an exceptional President, but not to the extent that the author explores.
I have listen to hundreds of audiobooks, but I can say without a doubt that this is one of the best. I very rarely write reviews, but felt that I had write a review for this exceptional book.
If anyone is debating whether to get this audiobook - Don't hesitate, well worth it.
This book has touched me deeply. After reading it I had a palpable feeling of grief and a sense of loss for the nation.I was unaware of the many trials and tribulations of Lincoln and the men around him. I also now have a greater respect for Lincoln and the men that made up his cabinet. Their determination to preserve the union and dedication they brought to bear on this noble effort while some of them not only swallowed their pride but put their own ambitions on hold to see the fight through.
That even though Lincoln faced terrible odds against preserving the union, the work of the men around him and his understanding of human behavior enabled them to come back from the brink of failure to eventually command not only the strategically higher ground, but the moral one as well.
Her voice over really made me forget I was listening to a book. It seemed proper for the time and place. Excellent job.
I must confess, it effected me greatly. There were moments with my eyes welled up.
I have read many great books, but this one had more meaning for me than any of the others. Lincoln was a common man, yet even so, perhaps the greatest of us. He didn't just do great things, he inspired others to great heights as well. The great men that surrounded him, regardless of their faults, rose to the challenge and succeeded despite such unfavorable odds.
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