Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Hardcover: 944 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
For a political junkie, reading Goodwin’s books are like reading poetry and Team of Rivals is no different. This is not just another book on Abraham Lincoln – this book focuses on Lincoln’s leadership style and his insightful understanding of human behavior and motivation.
Goodwin shows us Lincoln’s political genius by looking at three men in his cabinet – all of them opponents for the Republican nomination in 1860 – William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates. All three men had been humiliated by losing the election to a “backwoods” lawyer from Illinois.
Lincoln was able to persuade these men to join his administration and he eventually earned their admiration and respect. Seward became Secretary of State, Chase became Secretary of the Treasury and Bates was the Attorney General.
At over 900 pages, this book is not for the faint of heart, but if you love reading political history, it is an excellent view into an often ignored component of the Lincoln administration.