Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln As a history lover, I m a bit of a snob While everyone is rushing to purchase the newest warm milk entry from David McCullough, I make a show of purchasing turgid, poorly edited treatises put out by university presses about some guy who did something long ago that doesn t really matter any Of course, as every snob eventually learns, being snobbish is like slamming a hammer down on your thumb you only hurt yourself and everyone thinks you re an idiot When it was published, Team of Rivals As a history lover, I m a bit of a snob While everyone is rushing to purchase the newest warm milk entry from David McCullough, I make a show of purchasing turgid, poorly edited treatises put out by university presses about some guy who did something long ago that doesn t really matter any Of course, as every snob eventually learns, being snobbish is like slamming a hammer down on your thumb you only hurt yourself and everyone thinks you re an idiot When it was published, Team of Rivals became the it book of popular fiction, achieving something of the mass audience of McCullough s John Adams That meant, of course, that I put on my beret, grew a pencil mustache, and turned up my nose at the very notion of reading it While I was ignoring Team of Rivals, however, it did somethingthan sell millions of copies it added something to the cultural lexicon.The phrase team of rivals is this year s perfect storm Used by Doris Kearns Goodwin to describe Abraham Lincoln and his Presidential sounding board, it has been hijacked by cable newscasters as a quick way to add false insight into President Obama s selection of the Cabinet To demonstrate my belief that the phrase was overused, I decided to play the team of rivals drinking game while watching Wolf Blitzer one afteroon At some point, I blacked out Before I did, however, my pillow came to life and told me that Stephen A Douglas cheated during his debates with Lincoln by using a teleprompter Then I threw up in the fireplace Anyway, my point is, I ve forgotten what I was talking about, due to the short term memory loss I have from playing the team of rivals drinking game Now I remember I eventually got over myself and read Team of Rivals And it appears that everyone reading it on the subway was right it s super Team of Rivals is a Lincoln book that manages to find a fresh angle on a man written about as much as Jesus Rather than placing Lincoln directly front and center, Goodwin focuses on Lincoln s cabinet, providing us with mini biographies of Salmon Chase Secretary of the Treasury , Edward Bates Attorney General , and William H Seward Secretary of State The book starts with the Republican National Convention of 1860, where Lincoln faced off with Chase, Bates, and Seward the favorite This is the best part of the book learning about the lives of these three exceptional men Goodwin does an amazing job making these characters come to thrilling life in just a few pages She weaves them together while highlighting both their similarities and their differences For instance, she introduces Lincoln s Treasury Secretary Salmon Portland Chase, in contrast to the ever buoyant Seward, possessed a restless soul incapable of finding satisfaction in his considerable achievements He was forever brooding on a station in life not yet reached, recording at each turning point in his life regret at not capitalizing on the opportunities given to him.Then there s my favorite character, Edwin Stanton, the beautifully bearded Secretary of War Six years younger than Chase, Stanton was a brilliant young lawyer from Steubenville, Ohio He had been active in Democratic politics from his earliest days A short, stout man, with thick brows and intense black eyes hidden behind steel rimmed glasses, Stanton had grown up in a Quaker family dedicated to abolition He later told the story that when he was a boy his father had like the father of Hannibal against Rome made him swear eternal hostility to slavery Stanton originally thought Lincoln an incompetent boob Lincoln didn t take this personally, and replaced the actually incompetent Simon Cameron with Stanton after the first year of the war The two developed an incredible working relationship, and upon Lincoln s death, it was the distraught Stanton told the world he uttered the immortal phrase Now he belongs to the Ages Strikingly, no one around Lincoln s death bed remembers Stanton saying this Maybe he just thought it, and wished he d said it After giving us a quadruple bio of Lincoln, Seward, Chase and Bates, the rivals for the nomination, Goodwin takes us through the Civil War Her focus is not on the ins and outs of the various battles, which have been well covered in several million books rather, she views everything through the prism of Lincoln s cabinet This is a well told, lucid, propulsive story Even someone who s never read a book on Lincoln or the Civil War will follow along just nicely this is why Goodwin is such a marvelous popular historian, in the vein of McCullough I do have one major complaint, however, and it is fairly substantive The book s title and its focus is its thesis that Lincoln s team of rivals, his disparate cabinet, was a good thing This just isn t borne out in the story she tells Bates, after a big rollout, nearly disappears Salmon Chase is a wrong fit from the start, and Lincoln eventually has to appoint him to the Supreme Court to get rid of him Lincoln had to sack Cameron and install Stanton, who eventually turned out to be a good choice In the end, Lincoln took on a great deal of responsibility himself Long before Truman, the buck stopped with him Some of his big moments, such as the Emancipation Proclamation, came as a surprise to his Cabinet Indeed, the Emancipation Proclamation shows how bad the team of rivals idea can be It sharply divided the cabinet, with Lincoln receiving advice of varying degrees Bates and Stanton for it immediately Chase and Caleb Smith against it Then there was Seward, a smart man who wasn t as smart as Lincoln William Henry Seward s mode of intricate analysis produced a characteristically complex reaction to the proclamation After the others had spoken, he expressed his worry that the proclamation might provoke a racial war in the South so disruptive to cotton that the ruling classes in England and France would intervene to protect their economic interests As secretary of state, Seward was particularly sensitive to the threat of European intervention Curiously, despite his greater access to intelligence from abroad, Seward failed to grasp what Lincoln intuitively understood that once the Union truly committed itself to emancipation, the masses in Europe, who regarded slavery as an evil demanding eradication, would not be easily maneuvered into supporting the South.Here, Goodwin is telling a great story This is a powerful narrative that takes something we all sorta know about the Emancipation Proclamation and gives us all the nitty gritty details in a fascinating manner This is what great history writing is all about However, this scene also helps also demolishes her thesis This was a bickering, troublesome, quarreling cabinet Lincoln was left to make his own decisions though in fairness to Seward, he did have the clever idea of waiting until a victory in battle to announce the Proclamation I also don t agree with the foundation of Goodwin s thesis that Lincoln was a dark horse candidate and felt he needed to nominate Seward, Chase, Bates, et al in order to shore up his Presidency Lincoln was not the unknown, backwoods rustic portrayed by Goodwin Rather, he was an extremely talented and successful lawyer was backed by a coterie of powerful ex Whigs and Republicans and had become nationally famous during and after the Lincoln Douglas Debates Heck, the convention was held in Chicago, Illinois Coincidence Hardly Team of Rivals continues beyond the Civil War and Lincoln s assassination, following the lives of the Cabinet members beyond the Administration Seward, of course, had the most impact post Lincoln His purchase of Alaska ensured our great nation decade after decade of iconoclastic, individualistic citizens who hate the intrusion of the Federal Government but love the hundreds of millions of dollars they get from the Federal Government Thanks, Seward Ya big dumb jerk The end of the book is touching, powerful, and melancholy I admit I got chills when Goodwin related a story told by Tolstoy Tolstoy was visiting a tribal chief in the Caucuses and he was regaling the tribe with stories of Alexander, Frederick the Great and Caesar When Tolstoy stood to leave, the tribal chief stopped him But you have not told us a syllable about the greatest general and greatest ruler of the world We want to know something about him He was a hero He spoke with a voice of thunder he laughed like the sunrise and his deeds were strong as the rockHis name was Lincoln and the country in which he lived is called America, which is so far away that if a youth should journey to reach it he would be an old man when he arrived Tell us of that man If you want to learn about that man, and the great thing he achieved, or even if you think you know the story front to back, this is a readable, genuinely enjoyable addition to the Lincoln canon When Rod Blagojevich was impeached and hauled off to prison, that made four of the previous seven Illinois governors to have done time Countless representatives and aldermen have been locked up, too Then there was my wife s favorite a former Secretary of State found after his death to have 800,000 stuffed in shoe boxes Our reputation for corrupt politicians is, I dare say, unsurpassed Fortunately, we here in the Land of Lincoln as we call it on our license plates have one historical figu When Rod Blagojevich was impeached and hauled off to prison, that made four of the previous seven Illinois governors to have done time Countless representatives and aldermen have been locked up, too Then there was my wife s favorite a former Secretary of State found after his death to have 800,000 stuffed in shoe boxes Our reputation for corrupt politicians is, I dare say, unsurpassed Fortunately, we here in the Land of Lincoln as we call it on our license plates have one historical figure capable of tipping the scales back towards respectability.I ve taken a real interest in Abe and his legacy in recent monthson why in a minute Of the books I ve read, this one and David Herbert Donald s Lincoln are my favorites They both deserve credit for finding unique space within what is arguably the most densely populated expanse of American history Goodwin focused on Lincoln s clever leadership in bringing together a group of his former opponents, thinking them to be the most capable cabinet members at a very challenging time We get thoroughly researched sketches of Edwin Stanton a bitter rival contemptuous of Lincoln when they were both involved in a famous court case He called Lincoln a long armed ape, but was subsequently recruited by a magnanimous Lincoln to be Secretary of War and grew to love the President.Salmon Chase one of the founders of the new Republican Party who felt he was owed the nomination that Lincoln ultimately won, later did laudable work as Lincoln s Treasury Secretary.William Seward a senator and later governor of New York, was certain he was going to win the nomination in 1860 After Lincoln offered him the Secretary of State post, Seward figured on seizing power by essentially running his own government within the cabinet only to discover Lincoln s skill at bringing different factions together In Seward s capacity as the anti yes man, he became Lincoln s best ally and friend.Edward Bates a senior presence within the party who was coaxed into running against Lincoln in the primaries After losing that battle he reluctantly took the job as Attorney General for the good of the troubled nation He initially thought of Lincoln as an incompetent bureaucrat, but ultimately concluded that he was very near being a perfect man Naturally, most of the spotlight fell on Lincoln himself Goodwin showed us the tricky waters that led to the Emancipation Proclamation on 4 1 1863 a Good Friday in every way as well as other less famous but still important milestones that required a masterful helmsman I give her ample credit for underscoring his sound judgment, his political savvy, his wry sense of humor, and his superabundant humanity So why my sudden interest in Lincoln I thought you d never ask Aside from the fact that he is probably the most analyzed and lionized figure in American history, it looks like I have a personal connection as well I was revisiting some genealogical research I d started years ago, knowing that the internet now revealsties than those dusty tomes I used to find in libraries and court houses ever did One of my ancestors, Joseph Hanks, had a sister named Lucy who I d never bothered following up on before Anyway, according to ancestry.com, she was the mother of an illegitimate daughter named Nancy who was, by all known accounts, Abe s mother It was one of those can this really be true moments But I triple checked every link and am as sure as anyone can be given existing records that Abe is my second cousin six times removed I d originally thought to look into a DNA test like the one they did to explain all those red haired, brown skinned kids running around Monticello, but then decided against it I wouldn t know who to contact, it would likely be expensive, and I d rather just assume that it s true.Of course I realize this is a watered down relationship, and for all I know hundreds if not thousands of other people can make this same claim I have to confess, though, that for a while I thought of myself differently My gaunt face and hollow cheeks were no longer flaws, but indicative family traits And though I haven t tried to grow a beard in years, I m certain if I did, it would be scraggly I even looked for examples where I could count myself as a cut above in probity, eloquence and fair mindedness Before I got to the point of imagining Daniel Day Lewis playing me in a biopic of my soon to be famous life, I realized that I was still just me a guy who needs to remember that humility is one of his few attractive traits Besides, this is the really weird part I diddigging into my family roots and discovered that my great great grandmother, Cora Claudine Flickinger from Byhalia, Ohio had a sister named Lula Dell Flickinger who the internet shows was the grandmother of one Barbara Pierce Bush That makes me a somewhat less diluted third cousin once removed of George W Bush Suffice it to say I now think of these genealogical ties as less meaningful I lack the power and initiative to unshackle an oppressed segment of society, but then I don t feel any compulsion to invade Iraq either.So please understand I m not obsessed by my connections, but today of all days, after reviewing this wonderful book, I feel enough of a kinship to quote my famous cousins As Lincoln said, You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time Cousin Dubya modified the quote for real observing that, You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on Are any of you picturing Pinocchio in a jester s hat right now, perhaps in place of a white Rubik s cube Any theories on why I feel compelled to do this I m curious myself Am I dissatisfied with reality and need the artifice to spice things up No, I m luckier than most and I know it Am I simply attempting to entertain Hmm sounds a little too noble and generous probably not Am I trying to switch the focus away from anything relevant to shine the light on me, myself and I That s probably closest to the mark Either that or I ve got a genetic predisposition fordis honesty If there s any good that s come of this, it s that I m now truly eager to read Team of Rivals Please forgive me resorting to a tired trick and leading off with a definition from the dictionary, but there is a point to it pol i ti cian 1 a person experienced in the art or science of government especially one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government2A a person engaged in party politics as a profession2B a person primarily interested in political office for selfish or other narrow usually short sighted reasonsAmericans these days seem to think that 2B is the only Please forgive me resorting to a tired trick and leading off with a definition from the dictionary, but there is a point to it pol i ti cian 1 a person experienced in the art or science of government especially one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government2A a person engaged in party politics as a profession2B a person primarily interested in political office for selfish or other narrow usually short sighted reasonsAmericans these days seem to think that 2B is the only definition for the word, and even the first meaning is considered an insult because if you actually know how the government works, then you re guilty by association Hell, politicians now deny being politicians as they try to get reelected to political office while screaming about how all politicians suck Or the Tea Party just finds the angriest moron around to run It s weird that it s become such a dirty word because one of the greatest Americans by almost any sane person s standard was Abraham Lincoln While the myth may be that he was just this humble log splitter and backwoods lawyer who bumbled into the White House during one of the country s darkest hours and fortunately turned out to be the perfect leader for the time, the truth is that Abe was one super bad ass politician in the sense of definitions 1 and 2A, but luckily 2B didn t apply at all.All American kids hear about Abe in school We learn about the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address and the 13th Amendment, but they never really tell you how Abe managed to win a war that should have permanently split the country and end an evil institution that even the Founding Fathers had just left as some future generation s problem Reading Team of Rivals gives you an understanding of how Lincoln accomplished this, and the simple answer is that he was a politician of uncanny skill He had a great sense of timing as well as being empathetic enough to see the other side of any argument while never swaying once he had fully committed himself to a course of action he thought right or necessary The thing that made him unique was the almost inhuman way he could put his own ego and anger aside to find ways to work with people he had every reason to distrust or even hate As this book details, Lincoln s selection and handling of his own cabinet highlight what made him such a great president He managed to convince some of the biggest power brokers and politicians of his day, many of whom he had beaten out for the presidency, to work for the common good as members of his administration Even though this meant dealing with constant bickering and political intrigue, Lincoln still got outstanding achievements from all of them, and most of the men who once saw him as an overmatched fool eventually came to regard him as one of the smartest and most honorable men of the age.Well researched and written in an entertaining style, this book also shows how little has changed in American politics The tactics of the kind of people who would defend slavery and smear Lincoln seem familiar in many ways They just used newspapers instead of a cable news channel and talk radio.One odd thing I started this after seeing the Spielberg movie, and I knew that only a small part of the book was actually about the passage of the 13th Amendment that the movie centers on However, there s not nearly as much as I thought there would be It seems like only a few pages are spent on it, so it s a little weird that the movie would cite it so heavily On the other hand, the details of Lincoln s personality in here are all over Daniel Day Lewis s great performance I would have given this bookstars if I could have I think I loved this book so much because Abraham Lincoln was such an absolutely amazing person We are all taught that Lincoln was one of America s great presidents, and we know that he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but he is so much greater of a man than I ever knew Lincoln was super smart, wise, and incredibly compassionate and empathetic While unsure of his own faith, Lincoln, through his own care for others, was so muchI would have given this bookstars if I could have I think I loved this book so much because Abraham Lincoln was such an absolutely amazing person We are all taught that Lincoln was one of America s great presidents, and we know that he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but he is so much greater of a man than I ever knew Lincoln was super smart, wise, and incredibly compassionate and empathetic While unsure of his own faith, Lincoln, through his own care for others, was so muchof a Christ like person than the overtly pious self righteous Salmon Chase Lincoln s former rival and Secretary of the Treasury who, while disparaging of others characters, allowed himself to be uncritical of his own unethical actions much like our current president in my opinion This book showed Mary Lincoln in a better light than I had expected I had always had the impression that Mary was a real stinker, and while she definitely had her faults that must have been caused real difficulties for the president, she also had many good qualities One thing that impressed me is how she personally gave service to soldiers while not allowing any of her kind actions to be made known to the Washington social elite While Mary may not have always been easy to live with, I felt kind of bad for her since she suffered from such severe migraines and depression Who s to say for sure, but this book left me with the impression that Mary probably really tried to be a good gal despite her mental physical problems I did like the point of view of this book Telling the history of Lincoln s political and personal life inclusive with the lives of his opponents turned collaborators not only gave acomplete view of the times and happenings of the mid 1800s, but it demonstrated in a few cases what Lincoln did so widely, humbly, and deftly turn those against him into believers and supporters of his work One interesting thing that Lincoln did that I loved about him, and can t stand about George W Bush, is that Lincoln, while not being dishonest, again unlike our current president, used much political slide of hand to get things done I guess the biggest difference between Lincoln and some of our modern politicians is that while this technique is used today to cover up wrongdoings or cheating, Lincoln used it to help bring unity back to the nation and freedom to all people Yesssss I did it y all This is an accomplishment This book is dense but incredible and worth it If you set one reading goal for yourself, in your life, it should be to read this book The writing, Lincoln s life, the goings on of the cabinet and the country wow, wow, wow Yesssss I did it y all This is an accomplishment This book is dense but incredible and worth it If you set one reading goal for yourself, in your life, it should be to read this book The writing, Lincoln s life, the goings on of the cabinet and the country wow, wow, wow Doris Kearns Goodwin weaves a masterful tale as she follows the lives of Lincoln and his intimate circle of friends and rivals from the early 1800s, through the Civil War until the catastrophe assassination of the President in April 1865 It is a complex, but fascinating story of the political genius of Lincoln who was able to get consensus from his most bitter rivals all while holding on to his own high moral code Particularly moving, besides the horrors of war and the cataclysmic night at the Doris Kearns Goodwin weaves a masterful tale as she follows the lives of Lincoln and his intimate circle of friends and rivals from the early 1800s, through the Civil War until the catastrophe assassination of the President in April 1865 It is a complex, but fascinating story of the political genius of Lincoln who was able to get consensus from his most bitter rivals all while holding on to his own high moral code Particularly moving, besides the horrors of war and the cataclysmic night at the Ford Theater, was the various contexts for his greatest speeches and writings including the moving Gettysburg Address Readers will find Lincoln to be both humorous and melancholy, but ultimately curious, brave, and human.There is some beautiful psychological analysis of Lincoln s personality along with a Pynchon one of my favorite authors quote on melancholy on page 109 In fact, all the characters are analyzed with great insights into their motivations and characters one of the primary strengths of this book is this intimate portrait of these men I feel like I can sympathize greatly with Lincoln s particular pathos The melancholy stamped on Lincoln s nature derived in large part from an acute sensitivity to the pains and injustices he perceived in the world He was uncommonly tenderhearted We are also treated to many of Lincoln s wonderful stories Drawn from his own experiences and the curiosities reported by others, they frequently provided maxims or proverbs that usefully connected to the lives of his listeners Lincoln possessed an extraordinary ability to convey practical wisdom in the form of humorous tales his listeners could remember and repeat This process of repetition is central to the oral tradition p 151 That is one of the things that struck me about the world described oral communication played a farcritical role in these days before the internet, and it would seem that we have lost a generation of able statesmen in our times of vacuous soundbites.Some time is spent on the catastrophic Dred Scott Supreme Court decision written by Chief Justice Taney It was admirable how Seward fought this tooth and nail I feel that today s Justice Roberts may be nearly as corrupt as Taney and may yet deliver some similary catastrophic decisions p 191 Another phrase that certainly rung a bitter bell for me was during the presidential campagn of 1860 when the Chicago Press and Tribune wrote if Mr Lincoln is elected President, he will carry little but that is ornamental to the White House The country must accept his sincerity, his ability and his honestyHe may not preside at the Presidential dinners with the ease and grace which distinguish the venerable public functionary, Mr Buchanan but he will not create the necessity for a congressional committee to investigate corruption in his administration p 265 This is, sadly, very very far from where we have sunk today.One piece of trivia I appreciated was that the officialization of Thanksgiving as a national holiday was, in fact, Lincoln s idea p 577 in October 1863 Brilliant This was followed by one of the most moving speeches in American history, the Gettysburg Address which is quoted in full on page 586.Oh that today s leaders had even a sprinkling of Lincoln s humanity But that is a whole other debate.The book was absolutely wonderful and ends with a fascinating quote from a young 23yo Lincoln, Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other ambition so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow man, of rendering myself worthy of their esteem How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition, is yet to be developed p 749 He certainly made good on that promise, and the United States is indebted to him for it Hopefully, the winds of change will blow on Washington in November 2020 and renew a spirit of humanity which is so lacking today and so evident in Lincoln s story Winner of the Lincoln PrizeAcclaimed 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 presidentOn May 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 angryThroughout the turbulent s, 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 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 desiresIt 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 warWe 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 throughThis brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln s mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation s history According to Oxford Dictionary Team Two orpeople working together and Rival A person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity.So this oxymoron title caught my attention when I was in the final semester of my college I bought this book out of whim with slight consideration what is written inside because I am one of those people who are crazy in love with Great Honest Abe.Having said that let me come to the commentary on t According to Oxford Dictionary Team Two orpeople working together and Rival A person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity.So this oxymoron title caught my attention when I was in the final semester of my college I bought this book out of whim with slight consideration what is written inside because I am one of those people who are crazy in love with Great Honest Abe.Having said that let me come to the commentary on the book what can I say about a book written on the as vast a subject as civil war,slavery, abolition and quest for integrity of greatest nation on Earth The book Team of Rivals as the title suggests is the story of uneasy alliance of brilliant minds of era forged by the greatest leader of the time Story begins with the earlier struggles of abolitionists and pro slavery legislators to maintain their position at that time Seward was the apple of eye for the abolitionists and his fiery speeches roused the spirits of the camp, at that time lawyers like Stanton and Lincoln were not that significant in politics and could not imagine at the time their subsequent rise in the ranks of government A western backwoodsman and rail splitter and prairie lawyer who seemed to enjoy his country side storiesthan intricacies of the politics of capital was abruptly convinced and nominated as candidate for presidency at that time the ambitions of then to be president Seward were destroyed when he came to know that an obscure Prairie Layers has been nominated as the candidate for presidency by newly formed republican party instead of him most likely.Also another ambitious man Salmon chase could not find support to be candidate from his own state Ohio which if am not mistaken is considered the state which decides president for every election.When Lincoln assumed presidency country plunged into war with seceding southern Confederacy, this entire book is dedicated to the saga of managing country during the testing times some historians think that Lincoln was the god sent man for American union I also hold the opinion as in my view there was no any man as astute in running the affairs as Lincoln and as magnanimous as him to allow his crucial cabinet position to his bitter rivals like, Chase and Stanton In the end chase was to be the one lasting villain with his never ending ambition for presidency and i am equally startled to know he never got much respect outside the sphere of Lincoln by himself as he was regularly snubbed for the candidacy long after the death of Lincoln.This book is definitely worth reading not only for the purpose of understanding history, politics and government of the era but also for the sake of a lesson in management I think modern leaders belonging to any region can get valuable lessons reading this book and gaining immense insight on what it means to be statesman and how to manage in crisis situations.Coming towards some characters in the book, throughout the book Kate Chase appears to be the most charming and sought after lady in the book in her peak years she was the center of attention but when I am finishing the book I have found that her last years were pure testing times as she cheated her husband and due to alleged affair she ultimately divorced her husband and lived her last years in abject poverty Alas this reminds me Bob Dylan song Like a Rolling Stone Secretary Seward Abraham Lincoln lovingly called him Governor was one of the most faithful member of cabinet and he was intellectually most towering personality among cabinet members due to his unfortunate accident during the last days of Lincoln which made him bedridden for many days he could not celebrate the success of Union victory or could see and mourn his best friend death this made me cry this whole drama perhaps has shadowed the greatness of a lady who inspired me in the book was Frances Seward a lady of love of Great Seward she was the architect behind her husband s firm views against slavery and she served as ideological guide to cement the support for the cause today African Americans should pay tribute to this great lady for her unwavering support for the cause of their liberty Her demise and immediate death of daughter Fanny was perhaps most tragic events following the death of his beloved leader, Seward has another feather in his crown he purchase Alaska for US too as mentioned in book In my opinion after Lincoln, the true heir and ablest man in US at that time was Seward he should have been the US president but fate gave Johnson to American people Stanton as always was to be the most stiff of the persons in the cabinet he could not get along with Johnson Welles continued to be loyal to next president At the conclusion of my review i would like to mention the most important person in the life of Honest Abe, his love and wife Marry, It strikes me she was a bit out of mind always, my this proposition is supported by argument that his own son admitted her in mental hospital Mary was westerner and not suitable for high life of Washington but she managed nonetheless good time at capital,Finally i would say Lincoln was a center of gravity of government who held many distinct elements like capricious, ambitious and intriguing Chase, always skeptical and gruff Stanton, suspicious and indecisive Welles and intellectual and gregarious Seward all of them were in one way or other rivals but this great man turned them into team and rallied their strength for the cause of Union If history do not exhaust to count the great achievements of Honest Abe in Managing country, Abolition of slavery,Emancipation Proclamation, Magnanimous behavior to enemies one last thing to credit Lincoln is his befriending his enemies and thus destroying them A Pulitzer Prize winner worthy of the award.All of the superlative adjectives apply to this book.A monumental effort on a monumental book.A remarkable study of Lincoln and the people who surrounded him during his lifetime.The saying Keep your friends close and your enemies closer applies throughout the book.These are just a few of my thoughts and comments on this extraordinary book Extensively researched and well written, Goodwin expertly intertwined her prose with the myriad of letters, diar A Pulitzer Prize winner worthy of the award.All of the superlative adjectives apply to this book.A monumental effort on a monumental book.A remarkable study of Lincoln and the people who surrounded him during his lifetime.The saying Keep your friends close and your enemies closer applies throughout the book.These are just a few of my thoughts and comments on this extraordinary book Extensively researched and well written, Goodwin expertly intertwined her prose with the myriad of letters, diaries and notes provided by the many historical figures involved in the political and personal events of Lincoln s life.I must admit to the use of the audio version of the book at times due to its length and detail The audio read superbly by Richard Thomas of The Waltons fame was edited so much that I had to stop listening and read from time to time While the audio stayed true to the political theme of the book, so much of the personal side of events of the main and secondary characters was edited out Though seemingly unimportant to the audio, these personal stories were a welcome addition to my reading enjoyment and showed the human side of this terrible time in American history I would have missed so much information and knowledge just by listening to the audio This contributed greatly to my reading experience.If you intend to read this book, please do so word for word with the printed text You will be greatly rewarded for your commitment Highly, highly recommended for all Civil War and Lincoln enthusiasts Put aside whatever you re reading now yes, even those compelling vampire romance books and pick up this book It s that good Even though Goodwin is writing about Lincoln s cabinet, her work is eerily contemporary, given Obama s situation Everyone but a handful of people thought Lincoln had risen too fast and was too untried to take charge of a desperate crises facing the country Goodwin uses the main characters diaries, letters, journals, and speeches to show how that opinion gradually cha Put aside whatever you re reading now yes, even those compelling vampire romance books and pick up this book It s that good Even though Goodwin is writing about Lincoln s cabinet, her work is eerily contemporary, given Obama s situation Everyone but a handful of people thought Lincoln had risen too fast and was too untried to take charge of a desperate crises facing the country Goodwin uses the main characters diaries, letters, journals, and speeches to show how that opinion gradually changed If Obama has half of Lincoln s greatness of heart, we are in good hands

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