Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Read: July 13 - August 10
Format: Audio 36 CDs, Hardback 754 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet
Category: Civil War and its Leaders
Genre: History
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, USPC, Chunkster, Audio
Stars: 5

I think I know Abraham Lincoln. This book has so many details and delves so deeply into the personality of Abraham Lincoln as well as his cabinet members that I feel as if I've actually met this man and what a great man he was.

This book reveals the private details of the lives of Abraham and Mary Lincoln as well as William Seward, Edward Bates, Salmon Chase, Edwin Stanton, and Montgomery Blair during the time of the Civil War. The images of these great men depicted in this volume place the reader within the Lincoln's circle of confidantes so thoroughly that you feel that you are part of the decision making Team of Rivals.

Beyond that and because of that, you see every facet which made Lincoln the great man that he was. "His speeches possessed unmatched power, conviction, clarity and moral strength." Lincoln was always known for his humor as well as his drive, but the reader also sees his spirit of generosity, his gentleness, his ability to bring out the best in anyone. Lincoln was not a vain man and knew that there were abilities that he did not possess and so he turned to the men that he knew had those abilities and drew them to his support. He seem to know exactly how to convince his former rivals to become his friends and his allies. Each of these men wanted to be President and Lincoln "stole" the nomination in 1860. These men could have turned against him, but Lincoln used his abilities of persuasion and placed them in the position that aided in the preservation of the nation.

It is remarkable that a basically self-educated man was able to accomplish what he did at such a volatile time in our history. Men who served before and after him in the Presidency had more education, but perhaps, it is the spirit of the man, that in the end, succeeded where others would have failed. How sad that he was cut down before he was able to complete the task of reuniting our nation. History definitely would have been quite different.

Suzanne Toren on the Audio version (I had both hardback and audio) was tremendous making this 750+ page come alive. I rarely give a book 5 stars, this one I couldn't give less - it should have more.

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