Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Author / Director
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Publish / Release Date
Sep 26, 2006
Narrative Form
  1. Non-Fiction
Publisher / Studio
Simon & Schuster
Awards & Achievements
★ Winner, 2006 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize - for the finest scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War soldier, or a subject relating to their era, presented by Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Team of Rivals:
The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from...
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Book Citation

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2006.

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Great read. Perhaps a little too Lincoln-centric and not enough about his cabinet (i.e. the titular team).
It is heresy to say so, but Lincoln had very little talent for popular electoral politics. Even in his two Congressional races, he was not the locally popular candidate; for him to win in 1860, the opposition had to split into 3 separate parties. There is no question that Douglass would have won if Southern Democrat politicians had not been mad for formal secession.
Lincoln had no particular talent for party politics either. He is the only President who had to hide the name of his political party on his campaign posters in order to win re-election; and he compounded that mistake by choosing a Vice-Presidential candidate who was not even a Republican.
Ms. Goodwin can hardly say so, but Lincoln's "genius" for politics showed itself in his ability to see the opportunity that 1860 offered to a candidate who was not too much but just enough of a Republican to win the delegates votes in Chicago. That was pure mastery and a story that still remains largely untold.
Very well researched material. Written in an easy to read style. Compelling story..
While much attention may focus on the (slim) relationship between this book and Spielberg's movie 'Lincoln,' there is much more to be discovered here: Lincoln's cabinet members emerge from his historical shadow and become true individuals. The reader sees the evolution of Seward from troublesome firebrand to effective Secretary of State and staunch Lincoln supporter, while the often-overlooked machinations of Salmon P. Chase are given much detail. Excellent treatment of the inner workings of Lincoln's administration.