Team of Rivals – the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, is a long, funny, weighty, worthy, and well-written book over 900 pages. This book captivated me for over a month. At times brilliant and others mundane, the book leaves one feeling like they are living through the tough choices of our 16th president. In my opinion, this book solidified for me that Abraham Lincoln is undoubtedly the best President.
The book diverges from the movie in showing the early life of Lincoln, the rise to running for Republican primary, Lincoln’s tour on he circuit, the viewpoints of his rivals, and the lives of some prominent women of the 19th century. I firmly believe that the book is a more accurate portrayal of Lincoln. The premise of the book is taken from others’ view of Lincoln and his impact on them.
While not prefect in any means, one walks away with the feeling of being in the presence of a great individual. Lincoln’s entire life from his stories, generally humble demeanor, toiling over his speeches, dealing with political opponents, and knowing his role as commander-in-chief all culminate into a well-rounded individual. Looking at his view that African Americans would be better relocated early in his presidency, Lincoln finally evolved his thinking and fought for the God-given rights of African Americans. In addition the Civil War was fought over state’s rights – namely, do the southern confederacy states have the right to slavery.
These points in the book are all worth mentioning:
Lincoln was self-taught: Page 152, we see Lincoln struggling with mathematics – Euclid, and being deeply absorbed until he mastered the subject. He also believed that “life was a school.”
On page 165, “Lincoln (while debating) produced a conviction in others because of the conviction of the speaker (Lincoln) himself.”
Read the Gettysburg Address on page 586 – the most moving speech ever recorded.
Page 719 – Lincoln coming into the recent captured capital of the Confederacy – a group of black Union soldiers surrounding Lincoln and bowing to him; Lincoln wanted him to pray only to God. The scene is almost surreal with the end of the war coming to an end.
If you enjoy early 19th American history – this book is a must read.
Just my opinion…