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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

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (2278 )
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4.6 (1981 )
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4.4 (1939 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Erick Saint George, UT, United States 12-12-12
    Erick Saint George, UT, United States 12-12-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Lincoln Story:Tactics of an Underdog"

    I listened the first half if this book. I have read several books on the civil war but really wanted more history of the events that lead up to the war, and of Lincoln's life and career. The book delivered on this. I was not in the mood to hear about the battles, so maybe later I'll return and finish. Lincoln's tactics of timing, and good humor were well illustrated. Suzanne Toren did an excellent job narrating. She wouldn't have been my first pick, and sometimes I thought her delivery a tad melodramatic, but concidering parts of the book were dry accounts of parties and shopping trips, she really did keep my attention.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JSP 12-21-12
    JSP 12-21-12 Member Since 2012

    Part Time Soldier and Full Time Geek and Civil Servant... I love innovative thrillers and Science Fiction and Fact.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Robotic and Foreign"
    What would have made Team of Rivals better?

    Find a different narrator


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I barely made it through the beginning of the first few chapters of the first part. It is LONG and hard to follow this woman's voice.


    What didn’t you like about Suzanne Toren’s performance?

    Robotic, foreign, and seems mechanical at best, but so dry and has so many odd pacing and enunciations that I found myself drifting and not realizing I'd missed most of the last half hour I was listening to something else.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Sydney 11-19-12
    Chris Sydney 11-19-12 Member Since 2015

    Tell us about yourself! I love to escape into a good book.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Defining Moment in American History"

    This is a fascinating account of a critical and nation defining moment in American History.
    The abolition of slavery. This book details the lives of the men and women who played such a prominent role in this period. This is no dry academic look at history, Goodwin makes the period and the players come alive to make this a real page turner. Lincoln forged a team that liberated a nation from the contagion of slavery. He truly deserves his place as one of the most admired presidents of the United States.
    After you listen to the book I recommend you see the film Lincoln and the extraordinary performance by Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Max Round Rock, TX, United States 01-26-13
    Max Round Rock, TX, United States 01-26-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Agonizing"
    Would you try another book from Doris Kearns Goodwin and/or Suzanne Toren?

    No...I spent the first 8 hours in a bored, agonized state waiting for the narrative to get better, as the ratings for this book are really high. However, between the finite details that were irrelevant and Ms. Toren's voice (she sounds like an IVR response prompt - for 8 hours), I couldn't handle it and moved to the 3rd volume to see if the story got better. It did not and I'm no longer listening to the book.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Doris Kearns Goodwin again?

    Not likely


    How could the performance have been better?

    As with the other evaluators opinions, I feel the narrator of a story predominantly about an all-male cast should be a male voice. Ms. Toren's voice was intolerable after the first several hours.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Team of Rivals?

    The minutiae of detail about everything....readings from journals that described everything. When used properly it helps to paint a vivid and interesting picture of the times. When overused it becomes boring, annoying and uninteresting.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd like my credit back on this one....absolutely no value associated with this audio book.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Himmelspach 09-05-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Book Weak Narration"
    Where does Team of Rivals rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the most excellent biographies I have ever come across.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Abraham Lincoln is definitely a leader whose kind we desperately need today.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Choosing a female to narrate a book which is 90% about men and quotations from them is as questionable as it would be to choose a male to read "Little Women".


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    impossible


    20 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 03-05-13
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 03-05-13 Member Since 2012

    Semper Audiendo

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book - but not a great Audio Book"

    I suppose the first question you’re asking is “Why did she give such a highly acclaimed book an average rating?” Doris Kearns Goodwin’s ‘Team of Rivals’ is a fantastic, detailed history of a crucial historical period from a fresh perspective, but it is hard to follow as an audio book. It was, in fact, so hard to follow, more than 12 hours into the audio recording, I had to stop and start over.

    Historical figures were mentioned and set aside, only to appear hours later in the audio. I longed for an index to find the names and their places in the narrative.

    However, because I have a busy life and spend a lot of time driving, the chances were good that I wouldn’t have had the time to actually read the book for quite some time. I was glad to be able to hear it, especially to bring a historical perspective to the current president and his cabinet.

    The narration itself was fine, but the editing was a problem. There were frequently long pauses, and I found myself wondering if I was coming to a new chapter; had a call coming in on my iPhone, or if I’d disconnected my headphones. That wasn’t the case, but watch out for that distraction.

    14 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerardo Austin, TX, United States 12-01-14
    Gerardo Austin, TX, United States 12-01-14 Member Since 2011

    Businessman, Technologist, Marketer. Loves to learn and enjoys books. Mostly nonfiction plus historic novels.

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    "Long, boring and a very hard read"

    After reading all of Walter Isaacson's biographies, I was looking forward to learn about the life of Lincoln. Water has a unique gift in making a long story entertaining, useful, and engaging. This book just shows how hard it is to do it right.

    Listening to Team of Rivals feels more like listening to a researcher that wanted to communicate all the knowledge they have on a subject, rather than walking you through a story, the interesting facts, and the nuggets of wisdom we should learn from it.

    Honestly, I was unable to listen to the entire audiobook. This is not a book for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BookReader Chicago, IL, United States 08-03-14
    BookReader Chicago, IL, United States 08-03-14 Member Since 2001
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    "Lincoln"
    Any additional comments?

    Teams of Rivals is a story of politics, unlike most books about Lincoln. However, Goodwin obviously worships at the Lincoln altar, and the book is rife with ‘Lincolnesque’ wisdom and stories. I personally felt a bit hammered with the fervor of the author and her personal admiration of Lincoln and his words; there is considerable repetition. That said, Team of Rivals is a terrific insight into Lincoln.

    The book begins with the biographical detail of Lincoln’s cabinet members and progresses through his election, Presidency, the American Civil War, his assassination, and ends with the death of Mary Todd. The story does not linger on any single historical event. It is a compilation of the behaviors of Lincoln himself and his circle of cabinet members, family, and friends, primarily from a political view. Attitudes regarding preservation of the Union and slavery are the primary focus. The genius of Lincoln and his artful manipulation of the disparate personalities of the men surrounding the White House, including Civil War generals, is the backbone of Team of Rivals.

    Understanding and appreciating the passions and goals of others, and using this knowledge to his advantage, was his genius … especially considering he ruffled no feathers in the process.

    This book is the basis for the Spielberg movie, Lincoln. Cliché though it may be, “The book is better.” , applies. The full title of the book is actually: Team of Rivals - The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Over 41 hours of listening, the book is read by Suzanne Toren. As an audiobook listener, I was more focused on the history of the time and man, and wasn’t distracted by the reading … so she apparently does a good job :-).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Motorjaw California 07-20-14
    Motorjaw California 07-20-14 Member Since 2011

    Love every genre - read a book every 2 weeks or so- I mix between business books, classics, modern fiction, and biographies

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better than most leadership books"
    What made the experience of listening to Team of Rivals the most enjoyable?

    Great balance between flaws and strengths. The depth of the man was well represented in the writing.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Team of Rivals?

    Honestly, early in the book when how he became the Nominee was described by choosing to be everyone's 2nd choice showed such genius


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Too many to name


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

    I think I was most moved when the words of the Gettysburg Address was described - the powerfulness of the short speech were so succinctly perfect. I had no idea it was that short and the culmination of all the things he discovered leading up to that point really helped me understand why its such a big part of history


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen W.B. 07-03-14
    Karen W.B. 07-03-14 Member Since 2013

    Christian, middle-school teacher, horse lover and rider, grandmother, love America, hate getting old, pretty good cook.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "Pleasantly Surprised!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I didn't see the movie, but thought this would be very dry. In fact, the story comes to life and I was engrossed in yet another Lincoln book (I read the Carl Sandburg volumes many years ago, plus other Lincoln biographies).


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Team of Rivals?

    The political intrigue of his rivals (and their in depth, personal stories) and of course, Mary Todd Lincoln...he seemed to love the nut!


    What about Suzanne Toren’s performance did you like?

    If I don't notice the reader, then I'm happy. She did an excellent job.


    Any additional comments?

    For those who are fascinated with Lincoln, but think they've read all they can stand on the man. This book breathes a fresh breath onto the historical facts of his presidency, his friends and enemies, the Civil War, and his family.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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