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)
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.
The writing is excellent, the reading is good, if a little slow for my taste. The idea of looking at how Lincoln made a cabinet including the other major candidates for the 1860 Republican party nomination is interesting. And the mid-length bios of the others (Seward, Chase, and Bates) are valuable.
After Lincoln's inaugural, the book shifts gears and settles into a fairly traditional history of Lincoln's presidency. If you're interested in Lincoln, you might not find too much new in here. I was particularly bored to read once again about Mary Lincoln's redecorating, or to learn about the social scene in Washington. There is relatively little about how the cabinet interacted, or how Lincoln's political genus manifested itself, although that material is there.
If you take a quick look through my library, you'll see that I've listened to a lot of biographies over the years. "The Snowall," "Washington: A Life," "Andrew Carnegie," and so on.
Doris Kearns Goodwin has achieved something well beyond these others and has given us the best possible, multi-dimensional, view of our greatest president.
Where the average Biography (no offence guys, but it's true) reveals its subject, it usually does so through one perspective, with limited interaction from those surrounding this person through letters, and meetings and such.
Goodwin has written, in essence, the biography of not just Lincoln, but those surrounding him.
The result is a book which has brought the era alive more than anything else I have ever read/ listened to. Every Biographer can learn something from how this was written, for in no way has anything I have listened to since (while still very high quality) has achieved the sense that their subject was sitting in the room with you with five of his friends: telling you the real story. .
The narration is very well done (that is, it isn't over-done).
This is an admirable work that will stand the test of time. I highly, highly, recommend it.
The storytelling format and focus on multiple important characters.
Lincoln. The unrivaled political genius.
Lincoln. Female voice for a great female writer, brings a great male figure to life.
No. But only because its 45 hours long and it's best to fully ponder the momentous events over a longer time frame.
I am now literally devastated by Lincoln's tragic assassination. With congress now unable to pass even moral laws with the support of 90% of Americans we can't forget that the Civil War happened because of the evil of slavery, as well as the evil unwillingness of those Southern states to submit to the popular democratic will of the people at the federal level. Just a thought but can't we clone Lincoln somehow, then raise him in a similar way off in some cabin with actors portraying the characters the original Lincoln grew up with - then place him in charge of the nation when he's ready? The tea party would hate him more than they hate Obama!
This was by far the best book that I have read/ listened to in a very long time. The author does a beautiful job writing the book through the eyes of personal letters and writings from the people of the time period. This was by the most enjoyable history book that I have ever read.
A, "MUST HAVE!"
I've never listened to another book narrated by Suzanne Toren, but I found her performance only satisfactory! This is no fault of her own. The book covered such an important piece of Time in American History and involve so many complicated Personalities that, in my opinion the Narration needed at 2, if not 3 Narrators! This is only one person's opinion, because it must be said that Toren's narration was pleasing and quite satisfactory. I just felt that multiple narrators might have enhanced the performance !
Yes, be reminded of Lincoln's values and of what it means to be a citizen in a democratic society.
The leadup to and the reading of the Gettysburg Address. Despite my familiarity with the speech, hearing it presented in context and listening to Lincoln's simple, direct, and eternal message was inspiring all over again.
Hard to say.
Yes, at many points.
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