2013: Team of Rivals


"In 1876, the celebrated orator Frederick Douglass dedicated a monument in Washington, D.C., erected by black Americans to honor Abraham Lincoln. The former slave told his audience that "there is little necessity on this occasion to speak at length and critically of this great and good man, and of his high mission in the world.  That ground has been fully occupied . . . The whole field of fact and fancy has been gleaned and garnered.  Any man can say things that are true of Abraham Lincoln, but no many can say anything that is new of Abraham Lincoln."

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin

So, I bought this book in a Target in Redmond Washington last February, while we were on a family vacation to Washington and Oregon (yes, the Pacific Northwest in February is an odd choice, we know).  I finished all the books I bought (which were largely about Lewis & Clark), and  was pretty desperate - desperate enough to buy a book with a movie tie in cover (as seen above), which I snobbily NEVER do.  But it was big and heavy, and reputable and would last out the rest of my vacation I thought, well, why not. 

Best decision ever.  I LOVED this book.  One of the best books I read this year.  A page turner (even at 754 pages).  Loved it so much, that I'm eagerly blogging about it even though I finished in February.  Loved it so much that I re-watched the movie Lincoln after finishing it (though that movie, while fantastic - is barely really what this book is about).  Loved it so much I wanted to use nothing but five dollar bills and pennies for currency.  Loved it.

And, of course, the reason I loved it is because it reminds you how AWESOME Lincoln was.  The premise is that she focuses on his cabinet - how he used the men who were his political rivals as he was elected to the presidency and put them in his cabinet, playing them against each other and using their expertise and scheming to his best advantage.  It's a great book for the political wrangling alone - and how amazing that someone who could write like that could also politic with the best of them.  Tremendous man, Lincoln.  I know that is hardly a profound statement, but this book really reinforces it.  And maybe if I was a more critical reviewer, I'd note that Goodwin is pretty in love with her subject.  But you know, its Abraham Lincoln.  And the book won the Pulitzer, so I'm not the only one who is in love with it.

Read it - it's really long, but it's worth it.  And the movie is great too - so watch it.  Highly, highly recommended.

Categories: The American President Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017