Gentlemen and ladies, the Cabinet meeting will come to order. It’s time for another recommendation from this pseudo-intellectual, disguised today as the chief executive, and there will be no war, civil or otherwise, about my choice.
Few books rise to the level of this masterpiece, a triumph of story, research and writing by one of country’s eminent historians. Published in 2005 and the winner of multiple awards, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” is hard to top.
Out of all the hundreds — perhaps thousands — of books written about Lincoln’s life, the Civil War and its prosecution and the politics that surrounded it, this book must rank near the top.
In the Land of Lincoln, it should come as no surprise that the nation’s 16th president, who was assassinated shortly after the Civil War’s end, is a venerated figure.
But Goodwin explains why, in the context of the bitter war and the bitter politics that led up to it, Lincoln is considered a political giant, perhaps the greatest of our presidents. And she does so in a way that lends a broader understanding of this conflict, chronicling the lives and ambitions of Lincoln’s main rivals for the presidency — Salmon Chase, William Seward and Edward Bates — whom he brought into his Cabinet as well as Edwin Stanton, a political heavyweight who became Lincoln’s secretary of war.
Despite its sterling qualities, “Team of Rivals” is not for everyone. More than 700 pages, it’s a serious history of Lincoln’s life and presidency. But for those seeking a better understanding of how Lincoln rose from the most modest of circumstances and how he dealt with the people and events confronting him, “Team of Rivals” won’t disappoint.
Here are previous recommendations from Jim’s Pseudo-Intellectual Book Club.
[-] “Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission” by Hampton Sides.
[-] “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” by Edmund Morris.
[-] “A Night to Remember” by Walter Lord.
[-] “April 1865: The Month That Saved America” by Jay Winik.
[-] “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand.
[-] “Lindbergh” by A. Scott Berg.
[-] “The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963” by Laurence Leamer.
[-] “The Brother: The Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case” by Sam Roberts.
[-] “Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy” by Jane Leavy.
[-] “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions” by Ben Mezrich.
[-] “Harry & Ike: The Partnership That Remade the Post-War World” by Steve Neal.
[-] “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” by Michael Lewis.
[-] “Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone” by Martin Dugard.
[-] “In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors” by Doug Stanton.
[-] “Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34.” by Bryan Burrough.
[-] “Flags of our Fathers,” by James Bradley.
[-] “Cary Grant: A Biography” by Marc Elliot.
[-] “Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager” by Buzz Bissinger.
[-] “Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York” by Kenneth Ackerman.
[-] “They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967” by David Maraniss.
[-] “Flashman” (a novel) by George MacDonald Fraser.
[-] “Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling and A World on the Brink” by David Margolick.
[-] “Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics and the Battle for the Soul of a City” by Jonathan Mahler.
[-] “Five Families: the Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires” by Selwyn Raab.
[-] “The Rivalry: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and the Golden Age of Basketball.” by John Taylor.
[-] “American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies” by Michael Kauffman.
[[-] “The Looming Tower: al-Qaida and the Road to 9/11” by Lawrence Wright.
[- ) “A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports” by Brad Snyder.
[-] “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” by Michael Lewis.
[-] “The Education of a Coach” by David Halberstam.
[-] “Arc of Justice: A Sage of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age” by Kevin Boyle
[-] “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived The Great American Dust Bowl” by Timothy Egan.
[-] “The Wrong Man: The Final Verdict on the Dr. Sam Sheppard Murder Case” by James Neff.
[-] The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House” by John Harris.
[–] “FDR” by Jean Edward Smith
(-) The Unlikely Spy (a novel) by Daniel Silva.
(-) “Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love and Betrayal” by Ben Macintyre
(-) The Interpretation of Murder (a novel) by Jed Rubenfeld
(-) The Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country by Laton McCartney.
(-) The Last Great Fight: The Extraordinary Tale of Two Men and How One Fight Changes Their Lives Forever”
by Joe Layden.
(-) The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958 and the Birth of the Modern NFL” by Mark Bowden.
(-) Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family” by Joaquin “Jack” Garcia.
(-) Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer
(-) “Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World’s Most Notorious Nazi” by Neal Bascomb —