Review by Choice Review
Noted historian Goodwin attempts the ambitious task of capturing in a single volume the complex relationship between President Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet. Her thesis, as indicated in the subtitle, is that Lincoln possessed the political genius to harness the best effort from erstwhile rivals for the presidency, cabinet members with personal animosities toward each other, and secretaries with different goals and political agendas. By succeeding in welding querulous advisers into a winning team, Lincoln demonstrated an unusual level of political acumen. Lincoln certainly possessed rare political skills, but earlier works have already discussed that fact, revealing the weakness of Goodwin's book. While this work is elegantly written and certainly readable, there is little new information in the text. Instead, Goodwin centers the book on well-known political debates (e.g., concerning the Emancipation Proclamation) and anecdotal accounts of Lincoln and the cabinet, concentrating more on personality clashes than on achieved outcomes. The result is a mass of information that fulfills the book's thesis, but neither appreciably adds to the knowledge of Lincoln's administration nor adds or detracts from Lincoln's legacy. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Undergraduate collections. S. J. Ramold Eastern Michigan University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
This production of Goodwin's acclaimed biography enters the marketplace as a tie-in for Steven Spielberg's latest Hollywood epic, Lincoln. While Goodwin's book serves as the basis for the film, listeners of the adaptation may be puzzled that the narrative in this abridged edition does not include President Abraham Lincoln's efforts to gain passage of the 13th Amendment-efforts that provides the centerpiece for a great deal of the movie's storyline. However, the abridgment flows quite smoothly in its own right. Narrator Richard Thomas evokes an earnestness and dignity in keeping with the spirit of the material. He effectively conveys the personal bonds between Lincoln and his unlikely circle of advisors. In the case of Secretary of State William Seward, the emotional depths of the character's devotion become especially clear via Thomas's performance. And the narrator-whose tone remains sentimental without descending into maudlin territory-nicely tackles the sections devoted to Lincoln's family life, most notably the attachment he maintained with youngest son Tad. A Simon & Schuster paperback. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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