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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln | [Doris Kearns Goodwin]

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Douglas Elk Grove, CA, United States 01-02-13
    Douglas Elk Grove, CA, United States 01-02-13
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    "Vital history of our nation in a time of crisis"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Seattle, WA USA 01-02-13
    Joseph Seattle, WA USA 01-02-13 Member Since 2010

    Joe

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    20
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    "Very relevant to what we face as a nation today"
    Would you listen to Team of Rivals again? Why?

    I would lsten to this again to pick up facts and anecdotes.


    What other book might you compare Team of Rivals to and why?

    Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power


    Have you listened to any of Suzanne Toren’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A comprehensive history of the life of Lincoln


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike New Cumberland, PA, United States 12-30-12
    Mike New Cumberland, PA, United States 12-30-12 Member Since 2007

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Appreciating Greatness"

    If you think of LINCOLN as a 10 foot story line,the movie is like someone snipped off about two feet and put it on the screen.So as not to be disappointed I generally prefer to see a movie version first.Anybody who has seen and read both will not be disappointed no matter what order they do it in.Personally I think you should[1] see the movie [2]listen to the audible book[3]then see the movie again.
    WOW !! You really get an appreciation for the greatness of Lincoln,the greatness of the men [with all their very human foibles] that helped him run the country and the greatness of Lincoln's ability to get the most out of great men.
    The slices of the book depicted in the movie are great actors' performances of great men doing great things for our country.The movie SHOWS you what the book TELLS you.
    Both stand on their own and do not disappoint.
    The book by Doris Kearns Goodwin is appropriately narrated by another woman......
    [Suzanne Toren].
    While I wouldn't precisely call LINCOLN .....The Civil War from a woman's perspective....much of it's charm and fascination lies in the "story behind the story" stuff.
    The movie will leave you hungry for more.The book explodes with more.
    Opening with the day of the "Prairie Lawyer's"nomination Goodwin gives us a very interesting flashback biography of Lincoln and each of his main rivals for the nomination using these biographies to paint a picture of the times,passions and issues of the day.
    Then the nomination...........then it REALLY gets interesting.
    As and avid history buff I thought I knew a lot about the Civil War.As it turns out I do know a lot. But what I mainly know is about things like The battles of Antietam,The Wilderness,
    Bull Run,Gettysburg,Vicksburg and men like Robert E. Lee,Grant,Sherman,Pickett
    Stonewall Jackson, etc.
    The best analogy I can make is when my wife and I meet another couple,afterwards I can probably tell what the guy does for a living and his favorite sports teams.......
    My wife will know how many kids,grandkids ,their ages and names,how many times they've each been married,why they divorced and a host of family problems from drinking to
    autism..........AND..... the other wife knows similar things about us.
    Now as a man I admit I like hearing about this stuff,I just don't KNOW any of it.
    Well in Lincoln,Goodwin gives you this stuff in spades !! Nobody is a BAD person,they are just people with both good and bad traits[Like Us].Indeed ,that's exactly the way Abraham Lincoln viewed people.What's great about this book is that you get all this while getting a masterful depiction of the what,where, who and why of what it was like during and after the rise to prominence of Abraham Lincoln.
    One other observation is that..... when you hear and see all the political denunciations, wrangling,backbiting,grudging compromises,incompetence and corruption back then.... you realize................
    [1] Things haven't changed very much.
    [2] The importance of good leadership
    ...........and most important.................
    [3]everyday citizens need to be both informed and involved in their government or things can and will get worse.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angry Squirrel Fairfax, VA United States 12-24-12
    Angry Squirrel Fairfax, VA United States 12-24-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Fascinating behind-the-scenes insight"
    Any additional comments?

    The movie "Lincoln" doesn't compare to this book. Even though the movie was ostensibly based on 'Team of Rivals', the book is much more insightful and broader in its portrayal and analysis of Lincoln's "political genius." Kearns also captures the mindsets and motivations of Lincoln's rivals for the 1860 Republican nomination with incredible detail bringing the story to life. Excellent book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred Rocky Point, NY, United States 12-24-12
    Fred Rocky Point, NY, United States 12-24-12 Member Since 2012
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    47
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    "Been Dying to read this!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Team of Rivals to be better than the print version?

    Team of rivals is an insightful and concise look into the Lincoln Presidency and the times and caracters that effected the times.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The detailed leadup to the election of the president and the lead into lhe war.


    What about Suzanne Toren’s performance did you like?

    She is great


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Lincolns moments of deep upset and thoughts leading up to the war


    Any additional comments?

    Great Read.....A MUST

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Henry Williams 12-19-12
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    "Makes Lincoln Come Alive"
    What other book might you compare Team of Rivals to and why?

    I'd put this one right up there with my favorite biography, John Adams by Mccullough. Makes Lincoln and the people around him come alive.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Wind Gap, PA, United States 12-19-12
    Mary Wind Gap, PA, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Great lesson on how to be an Effective Leader"
    What made the experience of listening to Team of Rivals the most enjoyable?

    As expected this book provides insight into the historical aspects of Lincoln and his cabinet, but what I didn't expect was the lessons in leadership that it provides. Lincoln's political savvy shines through in the telling of how he shrewdly managed not only his campaign and administration, but more importantly how he lived his very life. Known for his intellect and homespun charm, he was also kind and magnanimous, always building bridges even with those who have opposed or slighted him. (We could use a leader like him today). Throughout his life he collected friends, who became important allies in time of need.

    The listener also gets to know the supporting cast, Mary Lincoln, Sewards, Chase, Bates and so on, as well as gain knowledge into everyday life at that time and the Civil War. What was politically correct then is certainly not the same today. Even some of Lincoln's sentiments are surprising, such as how he supported returning slaves and freed men to Africa. Although this book conveys facts collected through diaries, letters and other historical documents, it flows like a well-told story. Listening to this book makes my long commute more bearable.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd FREDONIA, NY, United States 12-16-12
    Todd FREDONIA, NY, United States 12-16-12 Member Since 2012
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    "One of the most engaging books I have ever read."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I always knew Lincoln was one of our greatest presidents and now I know why. The book has lots of information and it keeps you engaged for the full 41hrs.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sinjin Santa Ana, CA, United States 09-08-12
    Sinjin Santa Ana, CA, United States 09-08-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Want to understand President Obama? Read this book"

    Lincoln assembled the best people he could find to lead the nation in what was the most divisive period of our history. Lincoln found those people, strong and driven and patriotic, each with a vision of what this country could and should be in his rivals. Chase, Seward and all the others, each great on their own, were forged into a championship team by an ordinary man of extraordinary compassion and dedication to the founding principles of this Nation.

    President Lincoln has been referenced many times in the past years by President Obama, who used Lincoln's Bible at his inauguration in 2008 and most recently spoke of him in his acceptance speech of the nomination for President at the Democratic National Convention. For those on the left who may have difficulty understanding the apparent slowness and tepidness of Obama's policies and decisions, read this book to better understand him. For those on the right who may have difficulty believing that the invitations to engage and compromise and move this nation forward together are sincere and serious, read this book to better understand him.

    For the work and performance I will share one small anecdote. I've always been moved by the text of the Gettysburg Address but as told through the words of Doris Kearns Goodwin and the stellar voice of Suzanne Toren I felt I was there, on the battlefield, hearing it at its birth.

    18 of 42 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Arlington, VA, United States 12-19-12
    Ken Arlington, VA, United States 12-19-12
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    "Preachy, one sided, way too long"
    Would you try another book from Doris Kearns Goodwin and/or Suzanne Toren?

    I have been very interested in the Civil war for a long time and have admired Lincoln. This book was very one sided and written from a very liberal point of view. I got a few hours into the book before I decided I had had enough. Really did not appreciate being told what to think, or that the south was bad in every way. If you are a leftist "intellectual" then you will like this book, it will reinforce all of your notions.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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