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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln Paperback – Sep 26 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
While Goodwin's introduction is a helpful summary and explanation for why another book about Lincoln, her reading abilities are limited: Her tone is flat and dry, and her articulation is overly precise. But the introduction isn't long and we soon arrive at Richard Thomas's lovely and lively reading of an excellent book. The abridgment (from 944 pages) makes it easy to follow the narrative and the underlying theme. Pauses are often used to imply ellipses, and one is never lost. But the audio version might have been longer, for there is often a wish to know a little more about some event or personality or relationship. Goodwin's writing is always sharp and clear, and she uses quotes to great effect. The book's originality lies in the focus on relationships among the men Lincoln chose for his cabinet and highest offices: three were his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination in 1860, and each considered himself the only worthy candidate. One is left with a concrete picture of Lincoln's political genius—derived from a character without malice or jealousy—which shaped the history of our nation. One is also left with the painful sense of how our history might have differed had Lincoln lived to guide the Reconstruction.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
*Starred Review* Lincoln redux. Nevertheless, popular historian Goodwin offers fresh ground by which to judge the almost overdone sixteenth president. She is fascinated by the "growth of Lincoln's political genius," which resulted in two rather startling situations having to do with his career. First, that despite "coming from nowhere," he won the 1860 Republican nomination, snatching it from the anticipating hands of three chief contenders, all of whom were not only well known but also known to be presidential material: William Seward, senator from New York; Salmon Chase, governor of Ohio; and Edwin Bates, distinguished politician from Missouri. Second, that once Lincoln achieved the nomination and won the election, he brought his rivals into his cabinet and built them into a remarkable team to lead the Union during the Civil War, none of whom overshadowed the prairie lawyer turned president. Goodwin finds meaningful comparisons and differences in not only the four men's careers but also their personal lives and character traits. She extends her purview to the women occupying important space next to them (the wives of Lincoln, Seward, and Bates and the daughter of the widower Chase). The knowledge gained here about these three significant figures who well attended Lincoln gain for the reader an even keener appreciation of the rare individual that he was. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Goodwin manages to complete the task in even so many pages partly because she forgoes long recitation of even the most famous speeches, or detailed discussion of the varying fortunes of the Civil War. In a sense it's a shame, given how compelling they can be, but her ability to focus on her theme, restraining herself to the impact of those speeches and events on Lincoln and his cadre, and leveraging them as examples of his leadership keep the story from going off the rails. Those who catch the bug - any well might from the art of Goodwin's storytelling - will find ample opportunities elsewhere.
In the end, Lincoln's style of leadership may be more difficult to emulate than it's simplicity belies. But the message that forebearance and graciousness can hold leading roles in the management of so great an effort cannot be lost on anyone who invests the time to read her book. Well worth that time.
Lincoln was the long shot candidate for a new political party called the Republicans. He was from the "west", that is, Illinois, a tall, gaunt, and a very unsophistiicated man in comparison to his rivals for the party and the presidency: Seward, Chase, Bates, and Stanton. Yet he was able to win the party nomination and later the election. His rivals who all desperately, even delusionally, wanted to be president instead became part of his government and for a considerable time were able to work for this unlikely man.
Although Goodwin's story is how this group of competitive men came under Lincoln's political genius, her other story is about Lincoln's connection to the American people. We learn about Lincoln's depression, family tragedies, and an ambitous wife. What got him through this, and a horrific civil war, was his sense of humour and his ability to connect directly with the average ciitizen and the soldiers fighting in the bloody fields. Lincoln's other asset was his abilities to tell wonderful stories and to give an unforgetable speech. These always linked him to his people in a very direct and simple way. For instance Goodwin describes how the famous Gettysburg Address came about, how short it was, and how it stunned its first audience. But more importantly, "Lincoln had translated the story of his country and the meaning of the war into words and ideas accessible to every American." This remember was the age before television, radio, and mass media.Read more ›
This book is for those who want to see how Abe Lincoln led, managed, formulated stategy, handled very conflicting opinions, this is the book. A great read, if a bit choppy (perhaps a given with the nature of the subject matter). Another great novel is Giorgio Kostantinos' masterful 'The Quest'
Doris Kearns Goodwin gave me a level of detail that should be envied by any beginning writer. Her research abilities and affection for this great man is extraordinary and the prose common of that period is also captured by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Most recent customer reviews
Honestly, I would give this book ten stars. It is now by far my favorite book. After reading this you realize why Abraham Lincoln is considered the greatest of American presidents. Read morePublished 7 months ago by R Helen
I was inspired to read this book after watching the movie Lincoln which was based on this book. It is an excellent, thoroughly researched account of Lincoln's rise to power and... Read morePublished 16 months ago by marsha l. reid
To paraphrase Edwin Stanton, this book belongs to the ages. A masterful portrait of a unique man.Published 22 months ago by Dudley M Welford
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