Of course, as every snob eventually learns, being snobbish is like slamming a hammer down on your thumb: That meant, of course, that I put on my beret, grew a pencil mustache, and turned up my nose at the very notion of reading it.
Reviewed by Larry J. We were literally, not just figuratively, the Divided States of America.
And one man, Abraham Lincoln, was determined to make us the United States again. Image is not reality, however.
It is never just one man. Lincoln had a Cabinet full of remarkable men in their own right, and they helped — or hindered — the president as he strove mightily toward his goal. Noted popular historian Doris Kearns Goodwin attempts to paint the full portrait of the collective Lincoln presidency in her new book Team of Rivals.
On the whole, she succeeds admirably. Even more than most chief executives, he needed all the help he could get.
So Lincoln made a strategic decision to include his major Republican party rivals in his Cabinet: Chase as secretary of the treasury, William H.
Seward as secretary of state, Edwin M. Stanton as secretary of war and Edward Bates as attorney general. In short, this was not a Cabinet made in compatibility heaven.
As Goodwin argues, this is unquestionably admirable — but then, what choice did Lincoln have? He had been elected with a mere Lincoln simply applied the time-tested axiom that a politician should hold his friends close and his enemies closer. Lincoln was not at all what they had once thought. The awful bloodletting of the war and their common, solemn purpose in restoring the Union no doubt contributed to the eventual solidarity of this unexpected band of brothers.
Notice that one name has been omitted. Salmon Chase never joined the brotherhood. His contempt for Lincoln was unabated, and his desire for the presidency was never quenched. Hundreds of books have been written about the 16th president, and perhaps it is a legitimate criticism to wonder why we need another.
One despairs that we will ever again have a president so confident that he will seek out his most prominent and able rivals for the Cabinet or the Supreme Court.
But Goodwin clearly demonstrates how this approach benefited Lincoln and the country. There is a lesson to be learned here by a shrewd president-elect, who might serve a presidency and the nation well by taking some risks in the selection of key advisers. Like Lincoln, a wise chief executive should always seek out the most impressive and talented people available.
What a pity that, with few exceptions, modern Cabinet positions have been filled with nonentities who cannot even be recalled while in office, much less after they have vacated their posts. Lincoln still has much to teach his successors.Review: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns GoodwinA rich experience that moves from the West Wing to the Wild West, says John Dugdale.
Goodwin’s theme is contained in the book’s subtitle: “The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.” When he became president in , Lincoln had few strong allies in Washington; he was mainly a stranger to the ways of this most political of cities, and he faced the dissolution of the Union in a matter of weeks.
Review: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns GoodwinA rich experience that moves from the West Wing to .
Lincoln’s political genius is the focus of the movie–a welcome story in an age rightly cynical of politicians. Because Team of Rivals is a plus-page book, the only way to make the story come alive in a feature film was to make a story within a story/5().
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin The subject of Abraham Lincoln has fascinated author Doris Kearns Goodwin for years as a working historian.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln is a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, published by Simon & Schuster. The book is a biographical portrait of U.S.
President Abraham Lincoln and some of the men who served with him in his cabinet from to