Thursday, February 12, 2015

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Rarely has a book moved me so.  Rarer still, it is a non-fiction book. In Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin marvels as a storyteller, much like her hero, Abrahm Lincoln.

Knowing how this famous story ends, I still shed a few tears. Ms. Goodwin brings both Mr. Lincoln and his rivals out of the legend and into our lives. Each with their own tragedy and humor, ambition and loyalty. We sympathize with the setbacks, rejoice with the victories, and, yes, cry with them as they are torn apart by grief.

Mr. Lincoln's great feat was to assemble a cabinet that was politically balanced. He managed that balance through humor, wisdom, ambition, and sensitivity. Ms. Goodwin wove those traits into a compelling account of an awesome individual we were lucky to have for our sixteenth president of these United States.

No spoiler alerts here as this story is eye-opening even for those who studied the facts. Yes, I knew Lincoln was shot at Ford Theater while watching a play. I knew he was the president that presided over the civil war. I knew there was sincere tragedy in his life. But there is much I didn't know.

By gleaning perspectives from the diaries of Lincoln's family and friends, Ms. Goodwin, master storyteller, gives you a ringside seat in history as she tells the rest of the story.

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