Achowalogen, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Achowalogen)
Not only well researched, but well written. Goodwin does a thought-provoking analysis of the political concepts of Abraham Lincoln. Not too many historians have even thought as deep as she has on the concepts and political motivations of Lincoln. Send me back to my own history and political science books for a quick review. And, guess what, Goodwin is very acceptable on her conclusions. Great job! This one is not only a page-turner, but a mind-changler!!!!
gcthompson52, January 13, 2013 (view all comments by gcthompson52)
This book is a history of Abraham Lincoln and the men he chose to be in his cabinet during his presidency. Included are biographical sketches from childhood of each of the men.
It is well researched and very well written. Highly recommended.
Marcos, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Marcos)
Ms. Goodwin should be noted for her fine and excruciating work in creating this book which will remain as a must read classic for Lincoln scholars of the present and the future. All of us who track the Lincoln Presidency, 140 years after its termination are grateful for her assiduous work in creating this wonderful book.
Bethany Dotson, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Bethany Dotson)
I read 132 books this year, in 2012, and this was by far my favorite in all categories. Doris Kearns Goodwin makes Lincoln come alive in such a real, human way--you see him with all his flaws and faults, all his brilliance and triumph. Her emphasis in this tome (this is one long book) is on his rivals for the 1860 Republican nomination (Seward, Stanton, and Chase) and how he incorporated them into his cabinet to unite his party. Although Goodwin does go into his personal, economic, religious life, the emphasis is on his political savvy and genius in one of the most difficult times in American history.
Five stars. Breathtaking. It's like she was there!
Simon & Schuster -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Pulitzer Prize-winner Goodwin (No Ordinary Time) seeks to illuminate what she interprets as a miraculous event: Lincoln's smooth (and, in her view, rather sudden) transition from underwhelming one-term congressman and prairie lawyer to robust chief executive during a time of crisis. Goodwin marvels at Lincoln's ability to co-opt three better-born, better-educated rivals — each of whom had challenged Lincoln for the 1860 Republican nomination. The three were New York senator William H. Seward, who became secretary of state; Ohio senator Salmon P. Chase, who signed on as secretary of the treasury and later was nominated by Lincoln to be chief justice of the Supreme Court; and Missouri's 'distinguished elder statesman' Edward Bates, who served as attorney general. This is the 'team of rivals' Goodwin's title refers to. The problem with this interpretation is that the metamorphosis of Lincoln to Machiavellian master of men that Goodwin presupposes did not in fact occur overnight only as he approached the grim reality of his presidency. The press had labeled candidate Lincoln 'a fourth-rate lecturer, who cannot speak good grammar.' But East Coast railroad executives, who had long employed Lincoln at huge prices to defend their interests as attorney and lobbyist, knew better. Lincoln was a shrewd political operator and insider long before he entered the White House — a fact Goodwin underplays. On another front, Goodwin's spotlighting of the president's three former rivals tends to undercut that Lincoln's most essential Cabinet-level contacts were not with Seward, Chase and Bates, but rather with secretaries of war Simon Cameron and Edwin Stanton, and Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles. These criticisms aside, Goodwin supplies capable biographies of the gentlemen on whom she has chosen to focus, and ably highlights the sometimes tangled dynamics of their 'team' within the larger assemblage of Lincoln's full war cabinet. Agent, Amanda Urban. 400,000 first printing; BOMC, History Book Club main selection; film rights to Steven Spielberg/DreamWorld Entertainment. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Illuminating and well-written, as are all of Goodwin's presidential studies; a welcome addition to Lincolniana."
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.
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