Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Version: Abridged
Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin
Narrator: Richard Thomas
Genres: History, Biography & Memoir, Politics, Law & Politics, North America, Memoirs, Biography
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published In: October 2005
# of Units: 8 CDs
Length: 9 hours, 30 minutes
Ratings:
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Overview

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 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.

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.

Reviews (25)

edited

Written by Anonymous on November 20th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 3/5

slow starting but then it pulled me in. Low rating because it is the edited version and I would prefer to have had the opportunity to hear it all.

Great Portrait of Lincoln

Written by Joe on October 25th, 2016

  • Book Rating: 5/5

An excellent book that paints a great picture of Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet. The author does a wonderful job of bringing these historical figures to life. It is easy to understand how Lincoln was one of the greatest figures in history as a man of the people.

Team of Rivals

Written by Shelly on August 21st, 2013

  • Book Rating: 3/5

This book is a little slow paced. I think the author wasted more time than necessary with historical references and quotes, all of which got in the way of the endearing, human qualities that made this story worth telling. The Cabinet members who constituted the Team of Rivals, along with all other important characters in Lincoln's life, were reduced to stick figures. The only reason I finished reading this book is because I'm a history lover. If you're not, I wouldn't recommend it for recreational reading.

Outstanding Historical Portrait of President Lincoln

Written by Anonymous on August 9th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This book was a captivating and extremely informative, emotionally alive portrait of a complex man and the difficult personalities, issues and historical events he led the United States through during his Presidency. Not only was it a detailed, insightful description of President Lincoln's own incredible personal and political acumen, it was a fascinating description of the complex personalities he was surrounded with and dealing with. I found the book riveting, historically eye opening, relevant to our present life and one which had a profound personal impact on me.

Written by Anthony Smith on March 4th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Very well told and an interesting perspective. I personally wish Doris Goodwin had narrated the whole thing. I'd recommend the unabridged version - it seemed a lot was cut out.

Written by on September 20th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This is an excellent insight into one of the most written about leaders. While much of the basic story is familiar, it was the background into Lincoln's election, and the insight into how he choose cabinet members from among those running against him, and then how the strengths and personality traits of those men all contributed toward the civil war, the leadership of the country and the ultimate end of the war. The author included stories that gave a more personal view of Lincoln, his family and cabinet. There are lessons to be learned from the thought, deliberation and even approach Lincoln took toward everything. I'll be recommending this to friends (already purchased a hard copy for my father!).

Written by Tom Ostapiej on May 14th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A great book of how a President managed the position, the cabinet, and the office. Should be a required reading for those who occupy or want to occupy that position.

Written by Quincy Williams on May 13th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 4/5

You don't have to be a civil war expert to follow the storyline. It gives great detail into the whole cabinet and how Lincoln played puppeteer to keep such an odd group together. Well written and educational. Be warned that the book is quite long (+9 hrs.), but flows smoothly from the Republican convention through his assassination.

Exellent mix of history and personal insights

Written by Anonymous from Palmdale, CA on June 28th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This is an excellent insight into one of the most written about leaders. While much of the basic story is familiar, it was the background into Lincoln's election, and the insight into how he choose cabinet members from among those running against him, and then how the strengths and personality traits of those men all contributed toward the civil war, the leadership of the country and the ultimate end of the war. The author included stories that gave a more personal view of Lincoln, his family and cabinet. There are lessons to be learned from the thought, deliberation and even approach Lincoln took toward everything. I'll be recommending this to friends (already purchased a hard copy for my father!).

Lincoln's Genius Examined

Written by Drew from Taylors, SC on May 22nd, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

While many books on the Civil War focus on the battles and strategy, not many focus as strongly on the politics as this one. An excellent book whose only weakness is too much passion for the greatness of the Lincoln presidency and not enough balance on some of his shortcomings. From the start, the book covers the genius of Lincoln's chosen inner circle from William Seward to Salmon Chase. It shows how Lincoln navigated the dangerous waters of bringing strong wills into his cabinet and then utilizing their insight and intelligence to help keep the Union together. Richard "John Boy" Thomas does an excellent reading of the book. My only disappointment is that this is an abridged version. An excellent source of political history from a quality writer.

Author Details

Author Details

Goodwin, Doris Kearns

Doris Kearns was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Rockville Center, Long Island. Her invalid mother encouraged her love of books, while her father shared her love of baseball; she traces her interest in history to her childhood experience recording the fortunes of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Doris Kearns Goodwin Biography Photo
She received her B.A. from Colby College, Maine, graduating magna cum laude. While in college, she undertook summer internships at the U.S. Congress and the State Department. She won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and earned a Ph.D. in Government at Harvard University.

She was serving as a White House Fellow in 1967, when her opposition to President Johnson's foreign policy led her to co-author an article for The New Republic entitled "How to Remove LBJ in 1968." Only a few months later, she became a special assistant to President Johnson in the White House. The President apparently believed that having a White House fellow who was critical of the administration would prove he did not feel threatened by the growing anti-war sentiment in America

After President Johnson's retirement in 1969, Doris Kearns began a decade's work as a Professor of Government at Harvard, where she taught a course on the American Presidency. On weekends, holidays and vacations she traveled to Johnson's ranch in Texas, to assist the ex-president in the preparation of his memoir, The Vantage Point (1971).

President Johnson died in January, 1973. In 1975, Doris Kearns married Richard Goodwin, who had been an advisor and speechwriter to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and to Sen. Robert Kennedy. In 1977, Doris Kearns Goodwin published her first book, Lyndon Johnson & the American Dream, drawing on her own conversations with the late president. It became a New York Times bestseller and Book of The Month Club selection. With her husband's assistance, she began research in the Kennedy family archives in Hyannisport. The result was The Fitzgeralds & The Kennedys (1987), a New York Times bestseller for five months. In 1990, it was made into a six hour miniseries for ABC Television.

Her next success was, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Homefront During World War II which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1995. Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir was published in 1997. Her tale of growing up in the 1950's and her love of the Brooklyn Dodgers became a New York Times bestseller and Book of the Month Club selection.

Her 2005 book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, recounts President Lincoln's complex relations with the strong personalities he brought into his wartime cabinet. A national besteseller, it won the prestigious Lincoln Prize and the inaugural Book Prize for American History. Steven Spielberg has acquired motion picture rights to the book and plans to star Liam Neeson as President Lincoln.

In addition to her books, Ms. Goodwin has written numerous articles on politics and baseball for leading national publications. She is a regular panelist on Public Television's The News Hour with Jim Lehrer and a frequent commentator on NBC and MSNBC. She has been consultant and on-air person for PBS documentaries on LBJ, the Kennedy family, Franklin Roosevelt and Ken Burns's History of Baseball. She is also the first woman ever to enter the Red Sox locker room. Doris and Richard Goodwin have three sons. They make their home in Concord, Massachusetts.