Book Review: Team of Rivals

Taking the advise advice of my brother (which I usually ignore), I pulled “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” from Audible.com and started listening. Doris Kearns Goodwin does a masterful job of portraying Lincoln with all his goodness and still showing some of his weaknesses. Her inclusion of records and quotes from family, friends, colleges and rivals highlights important aspects of Lincolns life in the Presidency.

The book begins with the Republican National convention of 1860 when Lincoln was seen as a 3rd or 4th choice as the Republican nomination. He somehow (due to his political maneuvering) won the nomination and eventually the Presidency. After winning the election, Lincoln invited several of his rivals from the Republican convention to be part of his Cabinet, most prominently William H Seward, Edwin M Stanton and Salmon P Chase. This move is now viewed by political historians as one of the reasons he was so successful. He united the factions of the party (which was still in it’s infancy) by bringing the leaders of each of the factions into the cabinet.

The book takes us through all the controversies during Lincolns time in office including each threat of resignation from Chase, every early defeat in Civil War battles and the multiple leaders of the Union Army.

A few things I learned which I didn’t previously know:

1. South Carolina succeeded from The Union even before Lincoln took office, but because Lincoln won the election

2. Lincoln lost a child (William Wallace Lincoln) while in office

3. Lincoln originally proposed “colonization” of the slaves to a location in South America but later changed his feelings

4. The Assassination of Lincoln included an attempted assassination on Seward and a planned assassination of Vice-President Andrew Johnson (which was never attempted).

A good read for anyone even the slightest interested in the Civil War, Historical Politics or Lincoln.

Overall Rating: A+

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2 Responses

  1. Reluctant says:

    Sheesh… why is everyone so picky about this whole spelling and correct grammar thing. 😉

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