Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Team of Rivals

8 months , 750 some odd pages, and learning to read I finally have finished TEAM OF RIVALS by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Even though it took me a long time to get through it I really enjoyed reading the book and have developed a greater appreciation for Abraham Lincoln as a man, political tactician, and President. The main focus of the book is on Lincoln and his life from a young age through his early political career to his time as President during the Civil War. When I started reading the book I felt as though I had a good idea of his life and career from my studies in History and Political Science, but the knowledge I went into the book with was only the tip of the iceberg of who Lincoln truely was. Along with Lincoln, Goodwin also follows the lives and career of William Seward, Salmon Chase, and Edward Bates who were in competition with Lincoln for the 1860 Republican Presidential nomination and would eventually become the key members of his cabinet.

One of the things I found most interesting was how Lincoln was able to manuever the turbulant political landscape of the civil war while dealing with Chase, who while serving as Secretary of the Tresury, was constantly scheming to make Lincoln look bad so he could have another chance to run for President. The hardest part of the book to get through was the beginning when Goodwin traced the childhoods of each of these great men. Once the Civil War started then I really got interested and could hardly stand to put the book down. The only thing that I would have liked to read more about was the process and discussions that went on when Lincoln gave the order to allow West Virginia statehood, but that could be the country boy in me speaking.

One kinda funny thing that happened when I was about a third into the book was the day I substituted for a 5th grade class. In the class they were studying the Civil War and I was able to use some of the information that I had read from the book in my lecture to them. I am glad my brother got me this book for Christmas becasue I probably would not have picked it up on my own accord.

I think the next book I read will be the next Harry Potter book (number 5) becasue the old brain needs a rest.

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