Length: 944 pages
Audiobook Length: 41 hours and 32 minutes
First Published: 2005
In her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin takes a deeper look at Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, focusing on his political skills and maneuvering during his political career. Goodwin focuses on Lincoln’s cabinet, composed of his fiercest competitors whom he used his supreme skill to help them work together. A solid biography, Goodwin’s massive tome is well-worth a read. If you are into audiobooks, be sure to get the full unabridged audiobook version because the abridged version doesn’t convey the story nearly as well.
Acclaimed 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 president.
On May 18, 1860, 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 angry.
Throughout the turbulent 1850s, 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 more 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 desires.
It 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 war.
We 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 through.
This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln’s mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation’s history.
Movie Trailer for Lincoln (2012)
About Doris Kearns Goodwin
Doris Kearns Goodwin was a professor at Harvard and a former employee in Lydon B. Johnson’s White House. She is the author of Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, No Ordinary Time, Team of Rivals, Leadership: In Turbulent Times, and Bully Pulpit. She currently lives in Concord, Massachusetts. Visit the author’s website →