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Team of Rivals Audiobook, by Doris Kearns Goodwin Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin Narrator: Suzanne Toren Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9781442342163
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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, is a biographical portrait of Abraham Lincoln and some of the men who served on his Cabinet from 1861-1865. This book was adapted by Stephen Spielberg for film, the screenplay for which was written by Tony Kushner, a lauded playwright.

Analyzed in this biography is Lincoln on the path to abolish slavery and to win the Civil War. His attempts to delegate between conflicting political personalities and factions are detailed. A political and managerial virtuoso, when Lincoln emerged the winner of the presidential nomination of the Republican National Convention in Chicago, his rivals for that victory soon became his team, three of them serving as his Cabinet members during the tumultuous years leading to the civil war. At this point, secession seemed imminent because of the conflict over slavery.

Lincoln's character--formed by humbling life experience that had elevated him in the eyes of the public above the privilege and accomplishment of other statesmen--is the same character that had developed a tremendous capacity for empathy. His empathetic genius was his ability to put himself in the place of others, to grasp their motives and desires, and to experience what they were feeling; this would help him defuse much bitterness among his opponents, and would help them all preserve the United States of America.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, born in 1943, is a biographer, historian, and political commentator (frequently on Meet the Press and a regular guest on Charlie Rose). She was awarded the Pulitzer prize for History for her biography on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. She has also written about Lyndon Johnson, and the Kennedys. She consulted Ken Burns on his documentary, Baseball and with Lyndon Johnson on his memoirs (which drew from many of her conversations with him as a young intern in his presidential administration). She became Johnson's assistant, even after he learned about a publication in The New Republic where she had laid out a scenario for his impeachment over his conduct during the Vietnam War.

Winner of the Lincoln Prize

Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Abraham 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. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Endlessly absorbing…A lovingly rendered and masterfully fashioned book.” 

    Wall Street Journal

  • “An elegant, incisive study…Goodwin has brilliantly described how Lincoln forged a team that preserved a nation and freed America from the curse of slavery.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Goodwin's narrative abilities…are on full display here, and she does an enthralling job of dramatizing…crucial moments in Lincoln's life…A portrait of Lincoln as a virtuosic politician and managerial genius.”  

    New York Times

  • “Splendid, beautifully written…Goodwin has brilliantly woven scores of contemporary accounts…into a fluid narrative…This is the most richly detailed account of the Civil War presidency to appear in many years.” 

    Los Angeles Times

  • “The task the popular historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has set for herself in writing the history of Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet in Team of Rivals is neither easy nor immediately attractive. But this immense, finely boned book is no dull administrative or bureaucratic history; rather, it is a story of personalities—a messianic drama, if you will—in which Lincoln must increase and the others must decrease.”

    Washington Post

  • “This is a mammoth effort by one of America’s leading historians and is well worth the forty-two hours you’ll need to invest in it. It focuses on Lincoln the master politician and shows in great detail how he managed a cabinet populated by his bitter adversaries. Narrator Suzanne Toren has a well-bred voice that sounds classically trained, and her diction and pacing are terrific….An Audie Award finalist.”


  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly bestseller
  • A 2007 Audie Award Finalist
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books, 2005
  • Winner of the Lincoln Prize
  • A 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for Biography
  • A 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Biography
  • A USA Today bestseller

Listener Reviews

Write a Review
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lorna | 5/20/2011

    " This was a hard read, yet I learned so much. All I can say is wow! Abraham Lincoln was amazing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joel | 5/3/2011

    " A fantastic book that explores how tenuous the Union was and how fortunate we were to have Lincoln as our president. Can't recommend this book enough! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 4/26/2011

    " Great book about pure political genius. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 4/23/2011

    " One of my favorite books. Goodwin does an excellent job bringing history to life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 4/23/2011

    " An interesting take on Lincoln as politician. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Poppy | 4/17/2011

    " The similarities between Lincoln and Obama are startling. Very readable history - am enjoying this book very much - but I wish I had purchased it for Kindle. The book is so heavy, I can barely support it while I read - my only complaint. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan | 4/12/2011

    " A decent book about the political side in Washington and the Lincoln administration during the civil war which isn't told as frequently as the more war centric stories. There wasn't as much insight into Lincoln's leadership strategy as I hoped though. "

About the Author

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of acclaimed works of nonfiction and winner of numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in history, the Lincoln Prize, and the Carnegie Medal. She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Colby College and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. She earned a PhD in government from Harvard University, where she taught government, including a course on the American presidency, and, at the age of twenty-four became a White House Fellow, working directly with President Lyndon Johnson. She served as an assistant to President Johnson in his last year in the White House and later assisted him in the preparation of his memoirs. She has been awarded many honors and accolades, including book prizes and honorary degrees.

About the Narrator

Suzanne Toren, award-winning narrator, has over thirty years of experience in narration. She was named a “Golden Voice” by AudioFile magazine in 2019. She has won the American Foundation for the Blind’s Scourby Award for Narrator of the Year, AudioFile magazine named her the 2009 Best Voice in Nonfiction & Culture, and she is the recipient of multiple Earphones Awards. She performs on and off Broadway and in regional theaters and has appeared on Law & Order and in various soap operas.