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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 12. Februar 2009

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The life and times of Abraham Lincoln have been analyzed and dissected in countless books. Do we need another Lincoln biography? In Team of Rivals, esteemed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin proves that we do. Though she can't help but cover some familiar territory, her perspective is focused enough to offer fresh insights into Lincoln's leadership style and his deep understanding of human behavior and motivation. Goodwin makes the case for Lincoln's political genius by examining his relationships with three men he selected for his cabinet, all of whom were opponents for the Republican nomination in 1860: William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates. These men, all accomplished, nationally known, and presidential, originally disdained Lincoln for his backwoods upbringing and lack of experience, and were shocked and humiliated at losing to this relatively obscure Illinois lawyer. Yet Lincoln not only convinced them to join his administration--Seward as secretary of state, Chase as secretary of the treasury, and Bates as attorney general--he ultimately gained their admiration and respect as well. How he soothed egos, turned rivals into allies, and dealt with many challenges to his leadership, all for the sake of the greater good, is largely what Goodwin's fine book is about. Had he not possessed the wisdom and confidence to select and work with the best people, she argues, he could not have led the nation through one of its darkest periods.

Ten years in the making, this engaging work reveals why "Lincoln's road to success was longer, more tortuous, and far less likely" than the other men, and why, when opportunity beckoned, Lincoln was "the best prepared to answer the call." This multiple biography further provides valuable background and insights into the contributions and talents of Seward, Chase, and Bates. Lincoln may have been "the indispensable ingredient of the Civil War," but these three men were invaluable to Lincoln and they played key roles in keeping the nation intact. --Shawn Carkonen

The Team of Rivals

Team of Rivals doesn't just tell the story of Abraham Lincoln. It is a multiple biography of the entire team of personal and political competitors that he put together to lead the country through its greatest crisis. Here, Doris Kearns Goodwin profiles five of the key players in her book, four of whom contended for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination and all of whom later worked together in Lincoln's cabinet.
1. Edwin M. Stanton
Stanton treated Lincoln with utter contempt at their initial acquaintance when the two men were involved in a celebrated law case in the summer of 1855. Unimaginable as it might seem after Stanton's demeaning behavior, Lincoln offered him "the most powerful civilian post within his gift"--the post of secretary of war--at their next encounter six years later. On his first day in office as Simon Cameron's replacement, the energetic, hardworking Stanton instituted "an entirely new regime" in the War Department. After nearly a year of disappointment with Cameron, Lincoln had found in Stanton the leader the War Department desperately needed. Lincoln's choice of Stanton revealed his singular ability to transcend personal vendetta, humiliation, or bitterness. As for Stanton, despite his initial contempt for the man he once described as a "long armed Ape," he not only accepted the offer but came to respect and love Lincoln more than any person outside of his immediate family. He was beside himself with grief for weeks after the president's death.

2. Salmon P. Chase
Chase, an Ohioan, had been both senator and governor, had played a central role in the formation of the national Republican Party, and had shown an unflagging commitment to the cause of the black man. No individual felt he deserved the presidency as a natural result of his past contributions more than Chase himself, but he refused to engage in the practical methods by which nominations are won. He had virtually no campaign and he failed to conciliate his many enemies in Ohio itself. As a result, he alone among the candidates came to the convention without the united support of his own state. Chase never ceased to underestimate Lincoln, nor to resent the fact that he had lost the presidency to a man he considered his inferior. His frustration with his position as secretary of the treasury was alleviated only by his his dogged hope that he, rather than Lincoln, would be the Republican nominee in 1864, and he steadfastly worked to that end. The president put up with Chase's machinations and haughty yet fundamentally insecure nature because he recognized his superlative accomplishments at treasury. Eventually, however, Chase threatened to split the Republican Party by continuing to fill key positions with partisans who supported his presidential hopes. When Lincoln stepped in, Chase tendered his resignation as he had three times before, but this time Lincoln stunned Chase by calling his bluff and accepting the offer.

3. Abraham Lincoln
When Lincoln won the Republican presidential nomination in 1860 he seemed to have come from nowhere--a backwoods lawyer who had served one undistinguished term in the House of Representatives and lost two consecutive contests for the U.S. Senate. Contemporaries attributed his surprising nomination to chance, to his moderate position on slavery, and to the fact that he hailed from the battleground state of Illinois. But Lincoln's triumph, particularly when viewed against the efforts of his rivals, owed much to a remarkable, unsuspected political acuity and an emotional strength forged in the crucible of hardship and defeat. That Lincoln, after winning the presidency, made the unprecedented decision to incorporate his eminent rivals into his political family, the cabinet, was evidence of an uncanny self-confidence and an indication of what would prove to others a most unexpected greatness.

4. William H. Seward
A celebrated senator from New York for more than a decade and governor of his state for two terms before going to Washington, Seward was certain he was going to receive his party's nomination for president in 1860. The weekend before the convention in Chicago opened he had already composed a first draft of the valedictory speech he expected to make to the Senate, assuming that he would resign his position as soon as the decision in Chicago was made. His mortification at not having received the nomination never fully abated, and when he was offered his cabinet post as secretary of state he intended to have a major role in choosing the remaining cabinet members, conferring upon himself a position in the new government more commanding than that of Lincoln himself. He quickly realized the futility of his plan to relegate the president to a figurehead role. Though the feisty New Yorker would continue to debate numerous issues with Lincoln in the years ahead, exactly as Lincoln had hoped and needed him to do, Seward would become his closest friend, advisor, and ally in the administration. More than any other cabinet member Seward appreciated Lincoln's peerless skill in balancing factions both within his administration and in the country at large.

5. Edward Bates
A widely respected elder statesman, a delegate to the convention that framed the Missouri Constitution, and a former Missouri congressman whose opinions on national matters were still widely sought, Bates's ambitions for political success were gradually displaced by love for his wife and large family, and he withdrew from public life in the late 1840s. For the next 20 years he was asked repeatedly to run or once again accept high government posts but he consistently declined. However in early 1860, with letters and newspaper editorials advocating his candidacy crowding in upon him, he decided to try for the highest office in the land. After losing to Lincoln he vowed, in his diary, to decline a cabinet position if one were to be offered, but with the country "in trouble and danger" he felt it was his duty to accept when Lincoln asked him to be attorney general. Though Bates initially viewed Lincoln as a well-meaning but incompetent administrator, he eventually concluded that the president was an unmatched leader, "very near being a 'perfect man.'"

The Essential Doris Kearns Goodwin

Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir

No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II

Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream

More New Reading on the Civil War

Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk

Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War by Charles Bracelen Flood

The March: A Novel by E.L. Doctorow

-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.


A wonderful book ... a remarkable study in leadership (Barack Obama)

The most uplifting book that I have read in the last two decades. Sensational (Jon Snow)

I have not enjoyed a history book as much for years (Robert Harris The Observer (Books of the Year))

A fabulously engrossing, exciting narrative in the grand old style ... overflowing with colour and character (Dominic Sandbrook)

A brilliant book ... I couldn't get enough of it (Alex Ferguson)

Goodwin's narrative abilities are on full display here. A portrait of Lincoln as a virtuosic politician and managerial genius (Michiko Kakutani New York Times)

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Dieses Buch ist nicht nur eine Biographie über Abraham Lincoln, sondern auch ein akribisch recherchiertes Geschichtsbuch über den amerikanischen Sezessionskrieg 1861-1865. Nichtsdestotz werden aber auch Lincolns Mitstreiter und Gegner ebenso eingehend beleuchtet. Die Autorin schreibt dicht und geradezu brilliant über die damalige Zeit und von welchen Menschen Amerika wie verändert wurde. Es werden unzählige Briefe, Korrespondenzen, Tagebücher und Zeitungsartikel genutzt und so entsteht ein sehr farbvolles und vor allem lebendiges Buch. Obwohl man im allgemeinen rudimentär weiß, wie die Entwicklung damals stattfand, ist dieses Sachbuch sehr spannend und interessant. Man sollte sich nicht von dem 800-Seiten Kracher im Überformat schrecken lassen, denn seit langem ist das mal wieder ein echter Pageturner für mich, der mindestens zweimal gelesen werden kann...
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Geschichte so spannend wie ein Krimi.Alle menschlichen Facetten inbegriffen.Was für ein beeindruckender Mensch dieser A.Lincoln war, setzt sich in diesem Buch authentisch und minutiös recherchiert in Zeitzeugnissen zusammen. Wer etwas über einen genialen Politiker,klugen Kommunikator und seine so mitfühlend wie grossherzige Persönlichkeit, seine Mitstreiter und Zeitgenossen erfahren will, ist hier richtig. Wie Lincoln aus Rivalen Teamkollegen macht, das Beste aus ihnen herausholt und sich nicht nur ihren Respekt,sondern Sympathie und belastbare Freundschaft erwirbt , das ist einfach phänomenal- und noch dazu Fakt.Unbedingt lesen.
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In "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," Doris Kearns Goodwin confirms my belief that Abraham Lincoln was literally the only man in America who could have preserved the Union in the face of the Civil War. The book offers parallel biographies of Lincoln and the three men who were his chief rivals for the Republican nomination for president in 1860--Willam Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates--as well as the man who would serve as Secretary of War for most of Lincoln's administration, the (War) Democrat Edwin Stanton. The emphasis is on how their personal and political lives shaped their personalities and their destinies, as well as how circumstances compelled them to accept posts in the Lincoln cabinet and (with one notable exception) come to recognize that the president they served was the greatest man of his generation.
Goodwin presents Lincoln as the first consummate politician, as indicated by the subtitle, which is to say that in being nominated for president he proved his rivals to be amateurs, making his surprising nomination seem totally inevitable. The parallel biographies lead to a series of incidents in which Lincoln must manage not only these people but issues and events as well. More importantly, she makes it clear that from at least his first defeat for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 1855 that Lincoln had been living by the words of his Second Inaugural address: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right." Goodwin also emphasizes Lincoln's driving ambition of "being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.
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As readers of my Amazon reviews know, I have read extensively about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War (War Between the States to our Rebel friends). "Team of Rivals" has to be one of the finest books ever written on either topic. The purpose of the book is to explain how Abraham Lincoln took a collection of his rivals, all of whom thought that they, not Lincoln, should have been president, and molded them into a team that held the country together and came to respect and love their chief. Beginning with Lincoln's background, author Doris Kearns Goodwin describes the backgrounds of each of the four other main characters, Secretary of State William H. Seward, Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Attorney General Edward Bates.

Seward, Senator from and former Governor of New York, entered the Republican Convention of 1860 as the presumed nominee until the Lincoln operatives upset those aspirations. Although overcome by disappointment, Seward accepted the post of Secretary of State, expecting to become a defacto Prime Minister to a president who, despite his extraordinary height, was in over his head. Becoming Lincoln's most trusted advisor, Seward came to realize that he was just that, an advisor to a superior politician.

Gov. Chase of Ohio was the champion of the abolitionists who also saw himself as the logical standard bearer whose day in the sun was delayed, not eclipsed, by the Lincoln ascendency. Although Chase continued to use his position to undermine Lincoln politically with the intention of replacing him in 1865, Lincoln was able to use Chase's considerable talents to keep the war effort financed.
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