Customer Reviews for

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Average Rating 4.5
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(14)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

49 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

Can The Movie Top The Book?

Doris Kearns Goodwin has written a masterpiece. I thought David Donald’s Lincoln was probably the last word on our greatest president but she has surpassed him. Somehow she has brought a freshness to the familiar story by focusing on Lincoln’s rivals as they strove for ...
Doris Kearns Goodwin has written a masterpiece. I thought David Donald’s Lincoln was probably the last word on our greatest president but she has surpassed him. Somehow she has brought a freshness to the familiar story by focusing on Lincoln’s rivals as they strove for the Republican nomination and then served in his cabinet. We meet the jovial, generous Seward, the conniving, ambitious, socially inept Chase, the family man Bates, and the driven, tormented Stanton. Other figures like the beautiful but unfortunate Kate Chase, the various Blairs, Grant, Sherman, and Lincoln’s family are woven into the sweeping saga. Towering over them is Abraham Lincoln himself, a great character as well as a great President. Goodwin brings them all to life. I felt at times as if I was reading an epic novel instead of history. If you only read one Lincoln biography, this is the one. If Shakespeare, a favorite of Lincoln, had lived today, he would have used this book as a source.

posted by glauver on October 24, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Great insight!

I found this book to be very insightful, and informative. I started out reading it as a civil war enthusiast, and ended with a new understanding and admiration for Abraham Lincoln. I must admit that some parts were too detailed but in hind sight the detail was needed. ...
I found this book to be very insightful, and informative. I started out reading it as a civil war enthusiast, and ended with a new understanding and admiration for Abraham Lincoln. I must admit that some parts were too detailed but in hind sight the detail was needed. All in all a very good read. Add a half star to the rating.

posted by 5928410 on October 7, 2011

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  • Posted October 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Can The Movie Top The Book?

    Doris Kearns Goodwin has written a masterpiece. I thought David Donald’s Lincoln was probably the last word on our greatest president but she has surpassed him. Somehow she has brought a freshness to the familiar story by focusing on Lincoln’s rivals as they strove for the Republican nomination and then served in his cabinet. We meet the jovial, generous Seward, the conniving, ambitious, socially inept Chase, the family man Bates, and the driven, tormented Stanton. Other figures like the beautiful but unfortunate Kate Chase, the various Blairs, Grant, Sherman, and Lincoln’s family are woven into the sweeping saga. Towering over them is Abraham Lincoln himself, a great character as well as a great President. Goodwin brings them all to life. I felt at times as if I was reading an epic novel instead of history. If you only read one Lincoln biography, this is the one. If Shakespeare, a favorite of Lincoln, had lived today, he would have used this book as a source.

    49 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Brings History to Life!

    Goodwin is an author whose style of writing brings a sense of having "been there." She researches thoroughly and is able to bring in many of the human elements of the historical time. While it is obvious she admires Lincoln, she provides information that helps one believe they know the entire Lincoln. The story of politics of that day is extremely foretelling of what is happening in our current times.

    18 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2011

    Amazing Book

    I don't usually read non-fiction but this book is so well written that I couldn't put it down.
    I loved learning more about Abraham Lincoln and the people surrounding him. It delves in to the mood of the American people and their lives. I learned a lot. I laughed. And of course I cried. I hope someday to be half the human he was.
    Try it you will like it.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Abraham Lincoln and his Team of Rivals.

    This is a very well-crafted biography of Abe Lincoln and the three men who ran against him for the Republican nomination in 1860. It gives a fascinating overview of the times and people of the Civil War era. It gives you a close up look at Lincoln and his cabinet and family, as well as the generals and other politicians of the time. I discovered a lot of historical information that I either forgot or never learned in the first place. Almost everyone who got to really know honest Abe loved him. He was a very friendly, fairminded individual who loved his country and just about everyone he ever met. He was also much smarter and politically savvy than he was given credit for. He was probably the most forgiving man who ever lived.
    Sadly, his assassination by a Confederate sympathizer only served to do more injury to the South as he had a much softer, kinder approach to Reconstruction and things might have been very different after the war if he had lived. His death was a great loss to the entire country as well as to his family and friends. He may well have been the greatest President the United States has ever had.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012

    Alex

    This book is soooooo good

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2011

    Great Book, poor formatting for Nook

    A great book, well worth reading. However, the formatting for Nook leaves wide margins which cannot be changed. This is unfortunate, especially in the larger fonts. This is a long book and does not need the extra page "turns" involved. I hope ePublisher can remedy this.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Very interesting bio on one of the greatest Presidents of all time

    I am currently reading this book about Lincoln and since I don't usually read biographies find it quite interesting and to my surprise enjoyable!

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    It's About The Team

    Lot's of talented writers have written about Lincoln. This is another one. What is different about this book is announced in it's title. This book, in a much larger measure than previous authors, put Lincoln in a context of his contemporaries and you can view him through their eyes, as well as them through his. While you can still see him as a great statesman, this book exposes him as a deft politician as well.

    I followed this book with Manhunt. While not meant to be a sequel of course (so there is some overlap), I found the two books to read well in sequence. While Manhunt is well written, it is not at Team of Rivals level. Still I learned more history I had not learned before from Manhunt.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2010

    fascinating

    I decided that I wanted to learn more about William Seward after visiting his home in Auburn, New York. If your ever in the upstate region you must take some time and go through it. Anyway, there sat this book in the gift shop. I bought it and for days I could not put it down. It was absolutley fascinating to learn of the struggles and heartache of this wonderful man and the men in his cabinet. Lincoln and Seward are tremendous men who had tremendous obstacles to overcome. This book puts you in their time and makes you feel their passion for their fellow man and love for America.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Fantastic

    A fantastic account of one of the greatest men in history

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2011

    Introduces Lincoln the man

    Helps one understand the man, his inner strengths and life experiences that produce a great leader during possibly the most critical moment in this country's history. Names from history come alive as the author provides insight into the ambitions, skills and motives of the men and women in Lincoln's life.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2010

    Terrific!!

    What a great book. Extremely well written. Easy to read. Full of so much information. It was long, but I was sad when it ended.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Magnificent Masterpiece

    This novel is nothing short of a masterpiece to be treasured and referenced a century hence! The author's research of the characters and events is astoundingly in its detail and breadth. One feels like an insider observing the reactions and moods of the characters first hand. From the scoundrels to the beloved, each person who formed this interesting history is described within the meaningful context of the time so the reader can judge the impact of their involvement. At times I found myself frustrated with the limitless patience and gratiousness of Lincoln when I felt he had taken it too far. But repeatedly, it became evident that Lincoln was the master of exquisite timing in almost all his actions. It showed that his self-confidence and moral beliefs ruled his judgments unless a clearer evaluation by his colleagues could find flaws in his thinking. He was humble enough to accept the counsel of his Cabinet members, yet strong enough to follow his convictions alone if he felt it right. Lincoln's strategic thinking, as demonstrated in this book, serves as a lesson to the reader about how to handle complex, life-altering decisions. Learning about the Cabinet members as individuals was key to understanding the raw facts of history. Doris Kearns Goodwin is a champion historian who wrote a book of great historical importance. My only regret is that any historical account that I read in the future is doomed to comparison with this incredible effort. This is a must read by anyone vaguely interested in politics.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    Team of Rivals

    Very good reading - have read up to Lincoln's visit with Colonel Sherman's troops and haven't learned a whole lot of new things - have read much about Lincoln, though. But there is a lot of anecdotal and behind-the-scenes info, as well as info on the deveoplment and growth of the country with stastistics, and that is what I was hoping for.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    Great insight!

    I found this book to be very insightful, and informative. I started out reading it as a civil war enthusiast, and ended with a new understanding and admiration for Abraham Lincoln. I must admit that some parts were too detailed but in hind sight the detail was needed. All in all a very good read. Add a half star to the rating.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    Sad

    When abe died it was sad

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2013

    Outstanding Study of Development of American Civil War, Character of Lincoln, American Politics

    I'm a very slow reader, and this book was worth every hour and day of my time. Very long, 910 pages plus photographs, etc., it isn't a fast read because of the details used in building many characters.

    The many characters are well developed. The many strings pulling on Lincoln, even by his closest associates, make one appreciate the almost impossibility of his job. Compare him to Eisenhower and all the personalities, e.g. Patton and Montgomery, he had to successfully maneuver and placate to win WW2.

    The most interesting aspect of the book was how he with his personality did maneuver and placate them to get through the war. I found it heartwarming how kind and thoughtful a person he was, and continued to be, all the way through successfully leading the myriad of politicians and generals to a successful end of our most terrible war.

    Also a good treatment of William Seward, his Secretary of State, who almost had the nomination wrapped up, but couldn't quite get the 50%+ needed. I believe it was he who was quoted as saying that it was the hand of God who put Lincoln in that position. Seward became Lincoln's most valuable assistant and strongest supporter.

    The book works well in the Nook, also. Though I do miss having a good hard-back copy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2013

    A very good read

    This book is an unusual biography of Lincoln because it is as much about the man and his family as it is about the men of his cabinet, their lives, and their families. I found the information about Chase and Seward especially fascinating. I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, but never knew anything about the Blairs, except that there are streets and schools named after them, but their importance in Lincoln's strategy of reconciling both Republicans and loyal Democrats was a surprise.

    My only objection, and it is a modest one, is that there a fairly involved discussion of the parties, the clothes, the rugs and curtains purchases by the families. While this information did add the color of the narrative, I did not find it all that interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A fresh book. This book takes a different tact from the classic

    A fresh book. This book takes a different tact from the classic biography on Lincoln. (Of which one could probably stock an entire library). By looking at Lincoln's cabinet we get a perspective on the President I have never before seen. It is interesting how the politics of that day are in some ways so like the politics today. If you want to read about the inner workings of the government and want to learn about Lincoln the master politician this book is for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Haven't Read it Yet . . .

    I've seen the movie, which differs a bit from my previous understanding of Lincoln, and I've thumbed through the book. It promises to be thorough and I will be very interested to see her sources. By the size of it (daunting), it looks like it will be thorough.

    I'm glad I have this book!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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