Is Kearns-Goodwin's Lincoln book "Team of Rivals" any good?

I recently started reading famed historian Doris Kearn Goodwin’s book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”. I’m only about 150 pages in to this 900+ page tome, but I’m finding it tough sledding. I’m familiar with her from the TV talk show circuit but I’ve never read any of her stuff before. Let’s just say that I’m not impressed with her writing style, though the book sure seems to have been well-researched.

Am I alone in not being a big fan of this book? Has anyone else read it, and, if so, what did you think of it?

As I recall, it did take awhile to set the stage and characters. It is really gripping thereafter. IMO

Obviously, the stuff after he’s elected is a lot more interesting than his beginnings as an Illinois lawyer. I found the book to be quite engaging after that.

Side note: I became weary of her spelling out, basically in as many words, things like “Here we once again see the political genius of Abraham Lincoln, as he kept these two bitter rivals from quitting his cabinet for the good of the country.” It’s like she was writing a paper for her history class and had to make sure she proved the thesis.

I’ve read it twice and I think it’s a wonderful book, but it does take a bit to pick up steam, but once it does it’s magnificent.

OK, thanks guys, I’ll take another crack at it.

I will minorly dissent. I finished the book and enjoyed it, but the writing style doesn’t change significantly. I got to understand the set-up, and then the pay off went easier. If that makes any sense.

But then again I like history, and am willing to give a historical work a couple of hundred pages to get going that I wouldn’t do with a novel.

Let us know what you think when you finish.


There’s a surprise ending. I won’t spoil it for you.

The book is fatally flawed: Doris Kearns Goodwin doesn’t address the vampire issue at all.

Please don’t spoil it. I’m got a big bet down on McClellan to win in 1864. :wink: