Book Review of “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”

I just finished one of the best books I have ever read–Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I was turned on to Lincoln by a short business book called Lincoln on Leadership from which I learned a little of his management genius. So I decided to take the leap and tackle the 750 ppg. (not counting the works cited section) book. I have a new hero.

The book explores the lives of the four main 1860 presidential candidates for the newly-organized Republican party: Abraham Lincoln, Wm. Henry Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates. It talks about their early lives and how they arrived at the presidential nomination, then how Lincoln invites the other three rivals into his Cabinet, to 1) maintain stability in the party and the country, and 2) to surround himself with the best minds of the day.

It talks about how they managed the Civil War with all its implications and intricacies and how Lincoln managed and steered his cabinet effectively. The scope of personal writings cited is amazing and expands the story and personal aspects thereof.

It depicts beautifully the triumph, heartbreak, exhilaration, despair, and confusion of the times. But the meat of the book is Lincoln’s genius at dealing with issues and difficulties of war, politics, humanity, family, etc. He truly was, in my opinion, the greatest president we have ever had and among the greatest men ever to live.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It will give the reader a deeper appreciation of Lincoln, our forebears, and “the American experiment.”


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