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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (abridged) by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Published by Simon and Schuster in 2005
Read by Richard Thomas
Duration: 9 hours, 29 minutes

This is technically a re-read of Team of Rivals for me. I read the original 944 page hardcover book (see my review by clicking here) and I have marveled when I have seen the 41+ hour unabridged version at the library. I love audiobooks but that is a commitment that I am not prepared to make.

William Seward (1801-1872),
Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State
But, this abridgment is a very reasonable length and gives the listener a solid grasp of the political talents of Lincoln and some of what he faced. While the book does not cover all of his difficulties, it does a solid job of  presenting the relationship between William Seward and Lincoln, George McClellan and Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and Lincoln and Salmon P. Chase and Lincoln. Those were his most important relationships in the cabinet and they were all very different. Two became great allies (one after a bit of a struggle, one not) and two became political enemies (one was sidelined, one was moved into a different position where he could do less harm). His family life is covered as well.

About one-fifth of the book deals with Lincoln's life before he was president and the way his team worked the 1860 Republican convention to get him the nomination At first I thought this seemed excessive but it also served to introduce his cabinet members since he invited his main rivals for the convention in his cabinet. This book does demonstrate, even in its abridged form, that Abraham Lincoln was a gifted politician with an uncanny ability to read people and convince them to work with him, adopt his plans and somehow come away thinking that they had bested the president.

Richard Thomas (the actor best known as John Boy on the TV show The Waltons ) read this audiobook. His performance was neither good nor bad. This was not entirely his fault. Goodwin's text is informative but is more academically oriented and was not intended for an oral presentation.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.

This abridged audiobook can be found here at Amazon.com: Team of Rivals (abridged audiobook)

Reviewed on November 15, 2012.

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