Team of Rivals eBook 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 Let me tell you .... Listening to these 36 (not 34 as stated above) CD's over a regular commute was a challenge, but a worthwhile one! Narrator Suzanne Toren is very effective and accents that fact that this was written by a woman, who, in researching and writing this excellent concurrent biography does a great job of capturing the nuances of relationship that are often missed in the drier more traditional forms. Aside from an initial glimpse of Lincoln at the beginning of the book, it very much focuses at the beginning on the major players of the Republican Party and their ascent to power and influence. Steward, Chase Stanton and Bates are thoroughly examined and dissected before Lincoln himself assumes the central role much later into the book. While I found this a little frustrating at first, when Lincoln began to ease into the forefront of the book, it almost mirrors what must have been the feeling of the other protagonists as this "upstart" from Illinois assumed center stage much to their, and the nation's surprise. In the more military examinations of the Civil War years, it is sometimes easy to forget that this war took place in real time over 4 years and in the midst of it, there were great rises and falls in emotion and political fortunes throughout. While this book does necessarily work within the military happenings, there is not a strong effort to reference every battle and rather it moves from major offensives and battles with much the broader overview that must have been true of Lincoln and his Cabinet as well as the rest of the North. The only criticism I have, and it is mild and perhaps understandable in the context of the days and the importance of the Vice-Presidency, is the conspicuous absence of the Vice President from any of the daily interactions and Cabinet meetings. Surely there must have been some minimal involvement worth noting or parlance within the President's working. That would seem to be on par with the Cabinet in general and so despite the length of the overall work, which unabridged is almost 1,000 pages, a few could have been spared for the humble VP? Beyond that, this is a definitive work that anyone who takes the time to read (or listen) should come away with an appreciation of Lincoln's genius in surrounding himself with the leading talent of his era. Further, an appreciation for the subtle machinations behind the scenes driving the proclamations and political moves of the times is there to be had with careful attention.
One of the best Lincoln works I have ever read. Worthy of your time and attention!
Most readers would question the need for another Lincoln Biography at this point. After 200 years and numerous Biographies, is there anything new to learn about the man? In Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin answers that question with a resounding yes. Her focus is mainly on Lincoln as political operator. She explores this theme by looking at Lincoln through the eyes of his three greatest political rivals(and later cabinet members) William Seward, Salmon Chase, and Edward Bates. Goodwin begins her narrative at the 1860 Republican convention where all 4 were vying for the nomination. Lincoln was thought to be a long shot, but thanks to some adroit maneuvering on the part of his management team, he managed to position himself as every delegation's second choice, and managed to secure the nomination as a compromise candidate. The rest of the book focuses on the way in which Lincoln managed the Civil War, and the way in which various cabinet members influenced policy, and helped shape his evolving view of slavery. Lincoln was also a master at massaging his team's ego's when political in-fighting threatened to break the cabinet apart. He also had an incredible capacity for forgiveness. For example, when Chase crossed him one too many times, he finally accepts his resignation as head of the treasury, only to later appoint him Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Can you imagine a President giving a major rival a post with a lifetime appointment today?! I was captivated by the portrait of William Seward, sadly he is remembered today only for his purchase of Alaska, much derided at the time as "Seward's Folly" I had no idea he was one of the leading political figures of his generation. A complex portrait of Lincoln emerges from Team of Rivals, one that forever shatters the myth that he was a blundering backwoods political neophyte who could be easily influenced. Fair warning: This book requires a significant investment of time but you'll be well rewarded.
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