Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Written by:
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Narrated by:
Richard Thomas

Abridged Audiobook

Release Date
October 2005
9 hours 28 minutes
One of the most influential books of the past fifty years, Team of Rivals is Pulitzer Prize–winning author and esteemed presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s modern classic about the political genius of Abraham Lincoln, his unlikely presidency, and his cabinet of former political foes.

Winner of the prestigious Lincoln Prize and the inspiration for the Oscar Award winning–film Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, directed by Steven Spielberg, and written by Tony Kushner.

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.
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Quincy Williams

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.

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Anthony Smith

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.

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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!).

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Tom Ostapiej

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.

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