Summary of Team of Rivals

The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Simon & Schuster,
First Edition: 2005 more...

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Team of Rivals book summary
So, who were all those other guys in the movie Lincoln?


8 Overall

7 Importance

8 Innovation

10 Style


If you saw the Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln, you might have wondered who all those other guys were. Get ready to find out. Before Daniel Day-Lewis won his Academy Award, bookshelves sagged under the weight of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s fast-paced, fascinating, 900-plus pages, take on Abraham Lincoln and the three men he took with him to power during America’s greatest struggle. You’ll meet Secretary of State William H. Seward, who lost the Republican nomination to Lincoln but became one of his closest friends; the endlessly plotting Salmon P. Chase, Treasury secretary and presidential wannabe; and Lincoln’s placid attorney general, Edward Bates, among other fascinating characters. You may even get more detail than you want: The book explores the four principals’ childhoods, youths and early careers before it even ventures into the 1860 election and the US Civil War. In fact, the plot of the Spielberg film – passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution – doesn’t even kick in until well past page 600. But getAbstract thinks history lovers can’t go wrong here. Hours spent with Lincoln, America’s master politician, are never wasted. You’ll marvel at his tact, intelligence, patience and all the other qualities that made him one of the US’s greatest presidents.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Abraham Lincoln won the Republican presidential nomination, beating three better-known rivals;
  • How Lincoln brought those competitors together to serve in his cabinet during the American Civil War; and
  • What they accomplished.


Four Men, One Dream
In May 1860, the new Republican Party of the United States met to nominate its first presidential candidate. The party arose from the demise of the Whig Party amid the political fragmentation in the run-up to the American Civil War. During this period, the US grappled...
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About the Author

Doris Kearns Goodwin is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the best-selling biographies No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream.

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    David Forry 4 years ago
    We can learn a lot form Abraham Lincoln; I learned something new in this book summary. The book Team of Rivals taught me about how after Lincoln won the election he used three of his competitors in his cabinets and of course went on to do some amazing things. In the workplace we have “rivals” but working together we are much stronger. Especially when we all think differently so we can be more holistic as a team. Great summary! If it wasn’t 944 pages I would read the entire book.

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