The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Topics: Abraham Lincoln / Pages: 60 (2089 words) / Published: May 9th, 2013
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin HEATHER COX RICHARDSON
Skip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information) Volume 27, Issue 2, Summer 2006
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Doris Kearns Goodwin. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005. This is a terrific book. Goodwin has stepped with confidence into the well-mined, weary field of Lincoln historiography and emerged with a gem. Of interest to both specialists and generalists, this engaging trip through Civil War politics also offers pointed insight into the politics of today's America. Stepping back a century from her usual haunts, Goodwin daringly takes an approach to Lincoln unlike that of any previous biographer. Rather than looking at ever smaller aspects of his career, as historians anxious to carve out a new niche have been wont to do, Goodwin has opened up her lens wide. She shows us a Lincoln at the center of a vibrant political and social community. This is not unlike what David Herbert Donald did a few years ago in his "We Are Lincoln Men." Goodwin, though, has included the women who made up part of Lincoln's world. The product is the best rounded view of wartime Washington I have ever read. It is probably the most accurate as well. Goodwin builds her book around the lives of Lincoln's cabinet members and their female partners. Following the lives of the four rivals for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination, she introduces her readers to the world of nineteenth-century politics as the men and their companions experienced it. Here, Republican spokesman William Henry Seward climbs his way through the New York political machinery with the help of powerful newspaperman Thurlow Weed. Seward's developing hunger for politics pulls him away from his beloved wife Frances, who stays mostly at home in New York with their children while he

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