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March 2009 Selection: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
By: Doris Kearns Goodwin
Copyright: 2005


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About the Book:

In February, 2009, America (and especially Lincoln, Nebraska, the city named after him) celebrated the 200th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln.

Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who appeared in Lincoln at the Lied Center on February 15th 2009, illuminates 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.

Related Web sites:

Team of Rivals: The Official Doris Kearns Goodwin web site

Doris Kearns Goodwin on NPR about this book

Abraham Lincoln entry on Wikipedia

Background on Lincoln from whitehouse.gov

The Official Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library web site


If You Like Team of Rivals, Try:

Manhunt: The 12-Day Hunt for Lincoln's Killer
By: James L. Swanson. 2006.

Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness
By: Joshua Wolf Shenk. 2005.

Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer
By: Fred Kaplan. 2008.

The Great Comeback: How Abraham Lincoln Beat the Odds to Win the 1860 Republican Nomination
By: Gary L. Ecelbarger. 2008.

We Are Lincoln Men: Abraham Lincoln and His Friends
By: David Herbert Donald. 2003.

No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in WWII
By: Doris Kearns Goodwin. 1994.

The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys
By: Doris Kearns Goodwin. 1987.


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