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)
A more critical and realistic analysis of the facts could have improved this book. Often the expressed claims are unsubstantiated to the point that if somebody voices the counter claim, there is nothing in the presented facts to distinguish which claim is correct.
The choice of narrator is very subjective; I personally did not like Suzanne as narrator for this book
I have always had very critical opinion toward the efforts to defunct some of the most influential leader, such as G. Washington. After listening to this book, however, I begin to understand how an over zealous glorification based on epithets and not facts can trigger a desire for a more critical approach to analyzing historical facts.
I would not recommend this book for critical thinkers. It might be a good book for people who want to hear about a great idealized hero.
t p prince esquire international-- Switzerland / USA --Author publisher of adult and children's literature.
If you want to know and understand the complexities of the times of the civil war and abolition of slavery youi will not find a better written and explicit acccount than this one. Though it is sometimes slanted a bit more to the femist point of view of some of the female charachters, cloths and white house decorations and parties ect. It is a full and noble account of how times change but don't change. Politics is a complicated business and one can see how our times reflect the same feelings but for differrent subjects like women's rights and abortion. Susan Toren was steady and easy to listen too, even over such a long account.
Yes and no. The first 12 - 13 hours were agony. There was little about Lincoln in these pages. Rather, it was all about the men who were to one day be in his cabinet: William Seward, Salmon Chase, Edward Bates, and Montgomery Blair - the histories of their families, where they grew up, their early childhoods, the various schools they attended, their childhood pastimes, their various courtships, their marriages, their early careers, triumphs, disappointments, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam. Little was written about Lincoln's early life because not very much is known. He didn't like to speak of it in any detail. Real details about him don't begin until he runs for office against Stephen Douglas.
After, that VERY LONG painful part, the life and the struggles of his presidency are fascinating - including the politics surrounding his relationship with his cabinet and their relationships with each other.
Theodore Rex (a biography of Theodore Roosevelt). Both are exhaustive, systematic treatments of these fascinating super-men's lives.
I will echo what another reviewer has said: why on earth have a WOMAN read a story that is almost exclusively about MEN?? It is truly ludicrous as she assumes a low, husky voice when reading the many quotations of the male characters. Also, 42 hours of this rather school-ma'rm-ish, severe voice is a trying experience.
Good Lord, no! Those first 12-13 hours were agonizing. Everyday, I swore I was going to rate the book with one star and get my Audible credits back!
I suppose for the true history buff, the first 12-13 hours could be somewhat interesting because it does show, in a long, round-about way, how the lives and characters of his cabinet influenced Lincoln's presidency and the Civil War. But still, if Lincoln is your main focus - as it was mine - those first 12 - 13 hours will require much stamina!
The author made a good story out of what could have been a dry history lesson.
Discriptions of the toll that events took on Lincoln.
The narration by a mature woman led credability to the story.
Book is mired in detail that adds little to the story. How many times do I have to be told that Kate Chase is beautiful? I got the message the first 10 times. Although the book offers great insight as to Lincoln the man, it is littered with tiny details of little interest. Was Ms. Kearns being paid by the word?
Perhaps. Need to take a break for a while.
I'd always give he narrator a second chance.
This is a terrific book. The idea to see Lincoln through the eyes of his contemporaries is a great idea. It seems, to me, a fair and balanced book. The author portrays Lincoln, complete with faults, and his brilliance in a clear manner. It also brings to life those around Lincoln and in their lives and eventual grief, the book becomes a welcome addition to great books about this great leader!
William H. Seward from Auburn, NY. Lincoln's Secretary of State. The author weaves together a wonderful narrative of such a great man from the various sources available.
Doris Kearns Goodwin knows politics from the inside. She was a real "insider" during her White House internship with LBJ. Because of that, her understanding of how the personalities of the men and women of the tumultuous years before and during the Civil War affected, influenced what might have happened. Even though you know the outcome, the book will surprise you. "Lincoln," the movie is based on a snippet of this stunning book. Please send your congressperson a copy!
This book is not for everyone. For those desiring only a cursory look at Lincoln's more famous moments, this book will feel like a burden with so much detail in between major events.
However, for those who really want to get into the mutli-faceted complexity that was Lincoln's genius, this book is the best I have encountered. Chock full of rich subtlety and supported throughout with first hand sources, I strongly recommend this book to anyone craving a long journey unwrapping lawyers and discovering the complex relationships that together constituted our greatest American hero.
puts you back into the 19th century and the slave debate
War and Peace. they are both long and historical
good dramatic performance
puts you into the heartbreak of the civil war
Lincoln was a real man with real problems, strengths, weaknesses and motivations. Though I've known what happened during Lincoln's time, Dorris Kearns Goodwin's book has helped me understand why. Lincoln's words and actions now have a context in which they can be interpreted. I wish all history could be illuminated this way.
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