Thursday, December 01, 2016

Book Report: Team of Rivals -- The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Goodwin uses a storyteller's eye to spin what could be drab history into a novel-style story. Scouring history books, diaries and newspaper clippings, she breathes life into the era with the skill normally reserved for a screenwriter. She also dug up some fascinating fatoids:

-Abe Lincoln slept in the same bed with a dude for several years.

-Abe Lincoln didn't believe in an afterlife and was probably an atheist.

-Mary Lincoln was a crazy person who tried to kill him more than once.

-Abe Lincoln never went to college and became a lawyer just by reading a bunch of books.

-Abe Lincoln never voted for himself in a presidential election. The first time he demured because he found it unbecoming to vote for himself. The second time, when he wanted to vote for himself because he was terrified he was lose, he wasn't allowed to because his home state of Illinois didn't involve absentee ballots.

-The Civil War started simply because Lincoln became president and southern states were afraid he would try to abolish slavery, even though all he wanted from the outset was to prevent new northern territories from becoming slave states. He was perfectly cool with letting the southerners go on with their slave thing as long as they were willing to remain a part of the union.

-Abe Lincoln really messed up the beginning of the Civil War. Possibly so he could justify seizing more power and ramming through his buried anti-slavery agenda.

-Abe Lincoln knew his assassin's dad and watched him perform in plays quite often.

This was everything I desired out of a biography, and highly recommended reading to anyone who wants a more complete understanding of the era and its politics.

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