"Team Of Rivals -- The Political Genius Of Abraham Lincoln" 👍👍👍👍👍

Priscillaville, Virginia

September 20, 2020

Truly an exceptional book. A bit intimidating at 2.5 pounds and 944 pages, but I copped out and am listening to the audiobook. 😎

As Doris Kearns Goodwin discusses in the opening to the book, she took a different angle on this biography of Lincoln. Instead of just focusing on him, she expanded her research to include the men he competed against in 1860 to become president thereby giving us a new perspective on Lincoln. It is a wonderful book about leadership, resilience/dealing with adversity and the importance of keeping perspective.

One question that keeps going through my mind - what would have happened if the south had won the war? (Did I already write a post about that?)

In case you want to read a professional overview of the book:

Winner of the Lincoln Prize, acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Abraham 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.

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