Drudge is reporting today that Goodwin's Team of Rivals has passed 79,000 copies in sales. HNN is using the opportunity to remind us of her 2002 schweinerei and you really can't do better to inform yourself than read this by Philip Nobile.
I am having a great deal of difficulty finding reviews of her work by scholars and other informed readers; pop culture reviews are plentiful, though, so let's get to them.
Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette declares that "Goodwin takes no chances" - "Goodwin and company have little new to tell us and stick to the standard fare. Most of the familiar Lincoln stories are here -- from the suggestion from a young girl that he grow a beard to his attitude about Ulysses Grant's drinking." She does introduce this novelty, the reviewer says: "Goodwin describes the scene when an aide to Stanton visits Lincoln's office to ask a question: Lincoln greeted him. 'What's up?' Really? What's up with that?"
Invented dialog with a contemporary flavor: I love it. It calls to mind the title of an Arakansas paper's review: "Again with the Lincoln books!" ( subscription required).
The editor of Concord's Monitor is harsher. He says "In writing Team of Rivals she toiled under the burden of the controversy, and it shows." Pronouncing her "timid," he says "Goodwin not only loses the thread of her tale but also ignores the historian's greatest challenge: to bring fresh interpretation to the past. No historian or biographer should be satisfied merely to master the material well enough to recount events while leaving the interpretation to others. Yet this is precisely what Goodwin does."
This Bloomberg writer notes that this "is in many ways more a story of Goodwin than it is of Lincoln." However, "It is good to have her back," he purrs.
The Oregonian thinks that this is "one of the most compulsively readable books of history for a general audience to come along in a long time." It has a sharp eye out for troublemakers, too: "No doubt there will be those whose only interest in this book is playing "gotcha," looking for errors or for 'copying.' Here's hoping Goodwin's hundreds of endnote attributions are accurate and detailed enough to frustrate them..."
What's up? Myself, I like it when the wiseguys play gotcha with authors guilty of faking dialog and "copying" other authors. But I wouldn't expect a newspaper writer to feel that way.
James McPherson, who used his presidency of the AHA to attack Goodwin's plagiarism accusers in 2002, has stepped up to the plate to toss her a few rose petals in the New York Times, following a cruel review in those pages in October ( subscription required). This seems to be the third review of the book that paper has run, if you count this one.
The Cristian Science Monitor declares this "powerful" and "delicious" while trying to keep the author, and her moral stains, at arm's length. Having your cake and eating it is irresistible, I suppose.
On the other hand, Knight-Ridder news service manages to "review" the book without giving a single opinion. See for yourself!
Kentucky's Herald Leader thinks this is challenging reading, while asking "Was Honest Abe the Slick Willie of the 19th century?"
Doris Kearns Goodwin could give him slickness lessons.