Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin


11 Critic Reviews

Illuminating and well-written, as are all of Goodwin’s presidential studies; a welcome addition to Lincolniana.


Winner of the Lincoln Prize

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.

About Doris Kearns Goodwin

See more books from this Author
Doris Kearns Goodwin is the author of the runaway bestseller Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. She won the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II and is also the author of the bestsellers 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 N. Goodwin.
Published December 8, 2006 by Simon & Schuster. 945 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Dec 16 2012
Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
Want to Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Team of Rivals
All: 11 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 0


on May 20 2010

Illuminating and well-written, as are all of Goodwin’s presidential studies; a welcome addition to Lincolniana.

Read Full Review of Team of Rivals | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Reviewed by JAMES M. McPHERSON on Nov 06 2008

...Goodwin has brilliantly described how Lincoln forged a team that preserved a nation and freed America from the curse of slavery.

Read Full Review of Team of Rivals | See more reviews from NY Times


Reviewed by John Dugdale on Feb 27 2009

What makes Team of Rivals such a rich experience is that it's a team of books, combining an absorbing psychological study, a group biography of the four rivals and their families, a history of the civil war as viewed from the White House, and a vivid, West Wing-like portrayal...

Read Full Review of Team of Rivals | See more reviews from Guardian

Publishers Weekly

on Sep 26 2008

...Goodwin supplies capable biographies of the gentlemen on whom she has chosen to focus, and ably highlights the sometimes tangled dynamics of their "team" within the larger assemblage of Lincoln's full war cabinet.

Read Full Review of Team of Rivals | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Blog Critics

Reviewed by Georges Clark on Feb 17 2009

...this work will stand out in much of the Lincoln literature as a testament to how complex individuals can make government work in extraordinary times.

Read Full Review of Team of Rivals | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Book Reporter

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on Jan 23 2011

Lincoln and his rivals come to life on these pages, political turmoil is chronicled with authority...TEAM OF RIVALS is recommended as a first-rate literary piece.

Read Full Review of Team of Rivals


Reviewed by Jelinas on Jan 07 2013

...Doris Kearns Goodwin has risen to the challenge, driven by her passion for Lincoln and his legacy. Her work is, in a word: extraordinary.

Read Full Review of Team of Rivals

The Seattle Times

Reviewed by Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett on Nov 18 2008

This monumental effort is a gift; Goodwin's work clarifies and preserves Lincoln's legacy with rare skill.

Read Full Review of Team of Rivals


Reviewed by Larry Sabato on Jun 12 2008

...Goodwin performs a service in shining her light on Lincoln's method of governing.

Read Full Review of Team of Rivals

Literary Review

Reviewed by Dominic Sandbrook on Jan 07 2013 a slab of unashamed, full-throated historical narrative, overflowing with colour and character, Doris Kearns Goodwin's book is hard to beat.

Read Full Review of Team of Rivals


Reviewed by Lane Olinghouse on Nov 15 2012

...the reader will find a well written, highly informative and deeply engrossing read.

Read Full Review of Team of Rivals

Reader Rating for Team of Rivals

An aggregated and normalized score based on 3360 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

Rachel Companion

Rachel Companion 30 Aug 2016

Added the book to want to read list