Doris Kearns Goodwin

06.29.1996 - By Women in Literature (Audio)

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The acclaimed presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin was born in Brooklyn, and grew up in Rockville Center, Long Island. Her invalid mother encouraged her love of books, while her father shared her love of baseball; she traces her interest in history to her childhood experience recording the fortunes of the Brooklyn Dodgers. A graduate of Colby College in Maine, with a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard, she became a White House Fellow in 1967. Although she had recently published an article criticizing President Lyndon Johnson's conduct of the Vietnam War, when she met the President at a White House dance, rather than argue with her, he asked her to dance. At the end of the evening, he suggested that she be assigned to work directly with him at the White House. After his retirement, he sought her advice and assistance in the preparation of his presidential memoirs. "He's still the most formidable, fascinating, frustrating, irritating individual I think I've ever known in my entire life," she recalls. Her account of his presidency, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, established her national reputation as a historian. She has since written best-selling studies of three other presidents and their inner circles: The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys; No Ordinary Time (on the lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt), which earned her the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for History; and Team of Rivals, a study of Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet. Her books, political commentary and regular appearances on the leading television news programs have made her one of the most respected authorities on the American Presidency. This podcast was recorded at the Academy of Achievement's 1996 Summit in Sun Valley, Idaho. Goodwin had recently appeared on the Ken Burns documentary series Baseball. In her address, Goodwin relates her love of baseball to her passion for history, and discusses her memories of President Lyndon Johnson, as well as her recently completed work on the Roosevelts. Following her address, she takes questions from the Academy's student delegates.

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