Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

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Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: 2006-09-26



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 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. 

Doris Kearns Goodwin's interest in leadership began more than half a century ago as a professor at Harvard. Her experiences working for Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House and later assisting him on his memoirs led to her bestselling Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. She followed up with the Pulitzer Prize-winning No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. She earned the Lincoln Prize for the runaway bestseller Team of Rivals, the basis for Steven Spielberg's Academy Award-winning film Lincoln, and the Carnegie Medal for The Bully Pulpit, the New York Times bestselling chronicle of the friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. She lives in Concord, Massachusetts. Visit her at or @DorisKGoodwin. 

Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: 2006-09-26
ISBN: 9780743270755
Pages: 916
Size: 4.57 cms H x 22.86 cms L x 15.24 cms W (1.16 kgs)
Binding: Paperback

Splendid, beautifully written....Goodwin has brilliantly woven scores of contemporary accounts...into a fluid narrative....This is the most richly detailed account of the Civil War presidency to appear in many years. 
--John Rhodehamel, Los Angeles Times

Endlessly absorbing....[A] lovingly rendered and masterfully fashioned book. 
--Jay Winik, The Wall Street Journal

An elegant, incisive study....Goodwin has brilliantly described how Lincoln forged a team that preserved a nation and freed America from the curse of slavery. 
--James M. McPherson, The New York Times Book Review

Goodwin's narrative abilities...are on full display here, and she does an enthralling job of dramatizing...crucial moments in Lincoln's life....A portrait of Lincoln as a virtuosic politician and managerial genius.
--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times


Maps and Diagrams



1 Four Men Waiting

2 The "Longing to Rise"

3 The Lure of Politics

4 "Plunder & Conquest"

5 The Turbulent Fifties

6 The Gathering Storm

7 Countdown to the Nomination

8 Showdown in Chicago

9 "A Man Knows His Own Name"

10 "An Intensified Crossword Puzzle"

11 "I Am Now Public Property"


12 "Mystic Chords of Memory": Spring 1861

13 "The Ball Has Opened": Summer 1861

14 "I Do Not Intend to Be Sacrificed": Fall 1861

15 "My Boy Is Gone": Winter 1862

16 "He Was Simply Out-Generaled": Spring 1862

17 "We Are in the Depths": Summer 1862

18 "My Word Is Out": Fall 1862

19 "Fire in the Rear": Winter-Spring 1863

20 "The Tycoon Is in Fine Whack": Summer 1863

21 "I Feel Trouble in the Air": Summer-Fall 1863

22 "Still in Wild Water": Fall 1863

23 ""There's a Man in It!": " Winter-Spring 1864

24 "Atlanta Is Ours": Summer-Fall 1864

25 "A Sacred Effort": Winter 1864-1865

26 The Final Weeks: Spring 1865




Illustration Credits



Winner of the Lincoln Prize