Read Team of Rivals Online by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Click Here to Download the Book Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president. We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through. Team of Rivals is a brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.
Reviews I brought this book for two reasons. After reading "His Excellency: George Washington" by Joseph J. Ellis, which was a phenomenal and touching biography on Washington and "1776" by David McCullough, also about Washington, the general - I wanted to find out more about our second greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. My other reason was I saw others with the book "Team of Rivals" during my commute to work of which I seldom ever see anyone reading history books other then myself. First, I will say this is probably one of the best books I have ever read. The size (over 700 pages) was intimidating but I will tell you, I could not stop turning the pages. This was one of those books you read that plays like watching a vivid movie that runs through your mind. I actually felt as though I lived in the 1850's and 60's and knew Lincoln personally. When the book was finished, I wish it had not ended - it was that good! It was moving at many times, deeply touching and really absorbs the reader. The book is so phenomenal because of its scope. It tells of what life was like during the mid-century of the 1800's. It encompasses politics, people, foreign policy, scandal, war, life and death. I actually believe it's a biography of many of the powerful and gifted men of the times beside Lincoln. It encompasses the issue of slavery and the ferver it created. This issue was known even to the founding fathers as an issue that would tear apart our then infant country and thus "tabled" by Washington and others giving time for our nations' government to form and get underway. And rightfully so as it did tear the country apart. You witness William Henry Seward change from a "silver spoon", aristocratic, life- time politician holding many offices to being out maneuver for the presidential nomination of the under dog - Lincoln. Seward "matures" through his career to Secretary of State and Lincoln's closest advisor, friend and confidant. Lincoln's powerful speeches all have the hand of Seward behind them. Salmon Chase gets equal attention throughout the book. He is portrayed as an almost villain and short sited as he appears to be out for himself, blind of the world's opinion of him and obsessed with becoming president. For all his shortcomings, he was crucial to Lincoln and served him well in his position. Edward Bates gets the least attention and by the middle of the book, there are many times he is completely
unmentioned. Very little is said of his accomplishments or importance to Lincoln. The book brings in many more characters of the time such as McClellan, Grants, Sherman, Lee, Welles, the Blairs, Douglas, Mary Lincoln... The list goes on. No stone is unturned. The reader gets a true, exciting picture of the FULL political climate of the times. But above all, the author hails Lincoln as one of the greatest presidents of all time. And she fully backs up her claims with pain staking research and support as to why she feels this way. The reader will walk away knowing Lincoln was perhaps one the greatest humanitarian leaders who ever lived. You felt his grief as he witnesses first hand the dead and wounded from the civil war. You feel his frustration with his failed generals such as Meade, Burnside and McClelland and his loving embrace of Grant and Sherman witch were men "who actually fight". The agony was he did not want the war to continue tearing the country apart and the death it brought. You will feel his love for his family and his life long established friendships. You will understand how important he was to the South when the war ended as his sympathy and understanding in healing was the best ally to the South. This was a man who was an actual human being who "felt" and "related' to the common man as he rose from nothing to the highest office in the land. The sorrowful ending of the book with the assignation of Lincoln filled up my eyes with tears. Because I knew after reading this volume, that something so great, a man so inspiring was lost to the world. This was a man who was ingenious with his thought and was honest and convinced in the greatness of an undivided country. We need another Lincoln now! I will still endeavor to read a biography specifically for Lincoln as this book didn't focus on specifically him. I'd also like to read a moving biography on Andrew Jackson - Please leave me a comment if you have any suggestions of good books for these. Thanks!
This is one of those books so thick that they ought to publish it with a set of wheels. That said, it is a fascinating exploration of the character and genius of Abraham Lincoln. Goodwin studies four main characters, Lincoln, plus the other men who were seeking the Republican nomination in the 1860 presidential election, Salmon Chase, William Seward, and Edward Bates. She traces the life of each, from childhood through their tours of duty on Lincoln’s cabinet in the dark days of the Civil War. Goodwin does a masterful job of not only displaying (with a great deal of accompanying evidence) the character of each man, but how their political machinations throughout their lives either helped or hurt their political ambitions, ultimately culminating in Lincoln’s election. She documents the open disdain with which Lincoln’s rivals held the “rail splitter from Illinois,” and shows how everyone underestimated his intelligence and the shrewdness of his own political maneuverings. Lincoln invites his rivals to serve in his cabinet, placing each man in a position where he can’t say “no” to the opportunity, and then patiently manages the fireworks that ensue from the clash of egos and ambitions at the top level of his administration. At each turn in the story, Goodwin shows how Lincoln outfoxes the newspapers, the politicians, the political parties, and his own cabinet members. The genius of Lincoln, Goodwin demonstrates, is not that he “kept his friends close and his enemies closer,” but that he managed to turn enemies into allies, calling forth from each man the best of their gifts and skills in the service of a nation badly in need of strong leadership. Lincoln’s character (especially his humility) is seen in that many of his most contemptuous rivals became his most devoted friends, once they began to work closely with him. Edwin Stanton’s heartbroken tribute at Lincoln’s deathbed, “Now he belongs to the ages,” put a voice to the quiet awe in which many of Lincoln’s compatriots held him at the end. This is a terrific book, from multiple aspects. First, I am guessing you won’t find a better, more complete accounting of the run-up to the 1860 presidential elections, and then Lincoln’s management of his administration. Second, it is an outstanding study of leadership and character. Third, it is a great biography of Lincoln. And last, it is so well-written, so well-documented, so detailed that Goodwin held my attention from the first page to the last. I recommend it highly.
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