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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of…
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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (edition 2006)

by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Author)

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8,532215738 (4.45)2 / 669
This multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history. Historian Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius, as the one-term congressman rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals to become president. When Lincoln emerged as the victor at the Republican National Convention, his rivals were dismayed. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery led inexorably to civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was because of his extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires. It was this that enabled Lincoln to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union.… (more)
Member:jrdavidson
Title:Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Authors:Doris Kearns Goodwin (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2006), 944 pages
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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

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Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)
Stellar work by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Each life is a tapestry full of individual interactions and tiny defining moments and she does her best to illustrate these, while at the same trying to capture and share visions of, not just one, but upwards of 15 or more personalities. The genius of it is that she can portray some that I disliked (such as Seward) and gradually unpack them into a more complex state. She makes you sympathize with gruff, unlikeable personalities (like Stanton). She tries to help the reader understanding the much-maligned Mary Todd Lincoln---though she can't quite manage it with Chase. And she also makes the man "of the ages" human.

The result was that I came away from the experience feeling like I'd glimpsed a slow, but candid, snapshot of what life, what that particular community, was like back then.

Finally, the ending is almost perfect(which is so hard to do). You can see Tolstoy, telling in the simple way that he does best, the tale of a simple man.

This video does a good job of pointing out Lincoln's relevance to today---or, at least, in my opinion, his greatest virtue.

This review definitely deserves to be at the top.

P.S. in this case, I believe, that the book far outranks the film(as good as it is). ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
This is definitely a good book. My expectations were high - probably a little unfairly - due to Spielberg’s movie Lincoln, but the book certainly meets those expectations. However, I am giving it only a 4 star rating due to the length; I feel like the length is necessary for the subject, but it could have been broken down a lot better than it was. Other than that, I highly recommend this as a read. ( )
  historybookreads | Jul 26, 2021 |
There's little I can add to the other rave reviews. The view of history as the account of great individuals might be out of fashion, but this book would convince all but the most sceptical that Lincoln was indispensable for the outcome of the Civil War. The author has a hard time covering her distaste for the self-righteous Salmon Chase, nor for the self-aggrandising and maddeningly immobile George MacLellan, but for other major characters, she displays a depth of understanding that matches her thesis: Lincoln displayed his greatness not only by surrounding himself with his defeated rivals for the nomination, but then through strength of character becoming the undisputed master of the administration, winning the admiration of the others in the process. This could well be an unrivalled feat in the annals of government. Unreservedly recommended. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
Having just finished the book, I am finding it hard to put into words what i thought of this book. Lincoln was such a extraordinary leader that he was willing to surrond himself with men who were ambitious and often disagreed with him. Yet he was able to bring out the best in them and earn their respect and in some cases friendship. Doris Kearns Goodwin has the ability to put you into the time and place as if you are standing in the rooms and fields were the events are happening, you begin to know the people as if they are your neighbors and colleagues. Although you know how it ends, with each turn of a page you hope that the ending somehow doesn't occur. I do highly recommend this book ( )
  klrabbit58 | May 3, 2021 |
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.

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, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.

It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war.

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.

This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.
  Gmomaj | Dec 30, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)
"We needed the strongest men of the party in the cabinet," Lincoln replied. "These were the very strongest men. Then I had no right to deprive the country of their services." They were indeed strong men, Goodwin notes. "But in the end, it was the prairie lawyer from Springfield who would emerge as the strongest of them all."
 
"But this immense, finely boned book is no dull administrative or bureaucratic history; rather, it is a story of personalities -- a messianic drama, if you will -- in which Lincoln must increase and the others must decrease."
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Goodwin, Doris Kearnsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Toren, SuzanneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"The conduct of the republican party in this nomination is a remarkable indication of small intellect, growing smaller. They pass over ... statesmen and able men, and they take up a fourth rate lecturer, who cannot speak good grammar." —The New York Herald (May 19, 1860), commenting on Abraham Lincoln's nomination for president at the Republican National Convention.
"Why, if the old Greeks had had this man, what trilogies of plays—what epics—would have been made out of him! How the rhapsodes would have recited him! How quickly that quaint tall form would have enter'd into the region where men vitalize gods, and gods devinify men! But Lincoln, his times, his death—great as any, any age—being altogether to our own." —Walt Whitman, "Death of Abraham Lincoln," 1879.
"The greatness of Napoleon, Caesar or Washington is only moonlight by the sun of Lincoln. His example is universal and will last thousands of years. ... He was bigger than his country—bigger than all the Presidents together ... and as a great character he will live as long as the world lives." —Leo Tolstoy, The World, New York, 1909.
Dedication
For Richard M. Goodwin, my husband of thirty years
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On May 18, 1860, the day when the Republican Party would nominate its candidate for president, Abraham Lincoln was up early.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history. Historian Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius, as the one-term congressman rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals to become president. When Lincoln emerged as the victor at the Republican National Convention, his rivals were dismayed. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery led inexorably to civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was because of his extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires. It was this that enabled Lincoln to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union.

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A group of very

disparate men uniting

for a common cause.

(legallypuzzled)

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