Ellis's Reviews > Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
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's review
Feb 25, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: biography, history, nonfiction, politics, pulitzer, war
Read in February, 2008

I would have given this book more stars 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 much more of 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 a more complete 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.
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03/31/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Liesda (new) - added it

Liesda Dachlan Actually, I never read this book and only very few information I know about Abraham Lincoln. I also appriciate Lincoln's character as a smart and wise national leader for such a big nation, USA. But, it's very sorry to know that how a part of American people, particularly their political and religious elites'ideas and behaviours on democracy. They're very pride and worship their fundamental ideology, democracy, but they also act againts democracy, by killing many people in the Moslem countries, such as Iraq and Afganistas in the name of democracy.

message 2: by Noah (new) - added it

Noah Weisling If you dont like america you can just get out

Elizabeth So took the words out of the mouth in you review! Great review and thoughts

Manny You are aware that the Emancipation Proclamation freed no one, right? You do understand that many of the things he did as POTUS were outside of the scope of power he is granted in the Constitution, right? You are also aware that the war was not in fact fought the freedom of the slaves, right? Just checking. Cause you comments are like many people who laud him when in fact it should be the opposite. I would say that he was the most hated President save that of Obama. He was hated by the North and the South. Also, I believe you took the other commenter to task. But actually, she is correct in that the US uses war for peace which is an oxymoron. We do attack other countries in the name of Democracy when we in fact have allowed our own government to become a dictatorship and allow the government to strip us of our rights and freedoms. Just saying. I love to read about Lincoln and that period but I know who and what he was. Nothing against you nor do I mean any offence in case you took it as such.

message 5: by J. (new)

J. Thanks Manny. Someone brought these things to my attention a week ago and until then looked at it just like Ellis. Several other countries ended slavery without a war, so either our war wasn't about slavery or we are the worst country on earth. I'm still researching and learning more about the time and situation. Got any reading suggestions on the topic?

Manny Thanks J.

There are a few:

The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War

Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe

Lincoln Uber Alles: Dictatorship Comes to America

Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream

These are a few that point out specifically what he did. You can then read some of the "main stream" books by the Lincolntonians that will sometime give you the information but skirt by it or white wash it.

One of the glaring things that pops up in all the books I read, is how "the states were let back into the Union" well, I am no attorney, but if you never had the right to leave the Union (secede), why would you need to be "allowed BACK into the Union". Also, the South did not want to control the North, on the contrary, they wanted nothing to do with the North. Additionally, if the South was still part of the Union (because of the aforementioned) then surely sending Sherman to kill innocent women and children (HIS people) would put him on the list with some of the great dictators of our life. Don't let me influence your conclusion. Read the books I recommended if you can and you will come up with your own conclusion, although, anyone with elementary level research skills will see him for what he was.

Good luck with your research. Don't get discouraged. Keep looking for the truth.

message 7: by Gabby (new) - added it

Gabby Excellent comments, Manny. It's refreshing to read thoughts by someone who has read enough to know what he's talking about.

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