I first read Team of Rivals in 2005 when it was first published. I loved it so much, I went on to read all of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s other presidential biographies (No Ordinary Time, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, and The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys). All great books. All highly recommended.
The other day, I saw Lincoln, the movie about the final four months of Lincoln’s life with a focus on his efforts in January 1865 to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution pass the United States House of Representatives. I really enjoyed the movie but found that I didn’t remember a whole lot of detail from the Team of Rivals book.
So, I decided to read the Team of Rivals again. I’m a few chapters into it and it really makes you appreciate how Lincoln started with basically nothing but the gift of his intellect and worked as hard as anyone to leverage that gift and do great things with his life. The others, his “rivals”, all came from much more privileged backgrounds. The all had ample access to books and high quality schools. Lincoln just had access to a few books but his powerful intellect and his ability to tell a story in a heartfelt or humorous way really seemed to connect him with those around him.
Perhaps, I’ll post an update when I finish the book for the second time. I can only say now that I highly recommend this book, particularly if you are a Lincoln fan or a fan of that period of U.S. history.During the movie, Lincoln, a reference was made to Lincoln’s dad not really providing much in the way of emotional support during Lincoln’s early years (or later years for that matter). Lincoln’s mother died when he was fairly young. I didn’t recall the richness of how this is all described by Doris Kearns Goodwin in her Team of Rivals book, however. Reading it now, it seems that Lincoln has many thanks to give when it comes to his own intellect (and to his step-mother later on) and really only looks to his dad with appreciation when it comes to his ability to tell a story.
Also, the movie is quite good too!
From wikipedia: Doris Kearns Goodwin won the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time, which was a bestseller in hardcover and trade paper. She is also the author of Wait Till Next Year, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. She lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with her husband, Richard Goodwin.