about doris

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a presidential historian, international keynote speaker, Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times #1 best-selling author and a partner in Pastimes Productions.

Doris is often called upon by the news media and late night TV hosts as well as hundreds of companies, educational institutions and nonprofits to share her vast knowledge of leadership and provide historical context for events of the current day, as our democracy is challenged, international wars rage, we continue to recover from the impacts of COVID intersected with the economic fallout, polarization, and social and racial unrest during a time filled with fear and anxiety about our future both individually as citizens and collectively as a country.

Her eighth book, An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s, will be published on April 16, 2024. Artfully weaving together biography, memoir, and history, this new book takes readers on the emotional journey Doris and her husband, Richard (Dick) Goodwin embarked upon in the last years of his life as they delved into more than 300 boxes of letters, diaries, documents, and memorabilia that Dick had saved for more than fifty years. They soon realized they had before them an unparalleled personal time capsule of the 1960s, of the events and pivotal figures of the decade—John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, and especially Lyndon Johnson, who greatly impacted both their lives. The voyage of remembrance brought unexpected discoveries, forgiveness, and the renewal of old dreams, reviving the hope that the youth of today will carry forward this unfinished love story with America.

In September 2024, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers will publish Doris’ first book for young readers, The Leadership Journey: How Four Kids Became President, illustrated by award-winning artist Amy June Bates. Especially tailored for use as an educational tool, Doris brings to this new book decades of scrupulous research combined with deep knowledge of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. Adapted by Ruby Shamir from Doris’ seventh book, Leadership In Turbulent Times, the two book have in common that they provide an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field, and for all of us in our everyday lives.

In 2020, Doris executive produced her first documentary miniseries, “Washington” for the History Channel, through her new independent production company, Pastimes Productions Inc., and miniseries on “Abraham Lincoln, “Theodore Roosevelt” and “FDR” followed. Pastimes is currently executive producing an eight-part documentary with Kevin Costner on the “West” for the History Channel, and has a number of other projects in various stages of development.

Doris previously authored six critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling books, including the Carnegie Medal winner The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism and Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, in part the basis for Steven Spielberg’s film LINCOLN, which earned 12 Academy Award® nominations, including an Academy Award for actor Daniel Day-Lewis for his portrayal of the 16th president. Team of Rivals is often cited as an inspiration for business and political leaders, including President Barack Obama, and was awarded the prestigious Lincoln Prize, the inaugural Book Prize for American History, and Goodwin in 2016 was the first historian to receive the Lincoln Leadership Prize from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.

Doris earned the Pulitzer Prize in History for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. Her The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys was adapted into an award-winning ABC television miniseries.

Doris’ career as a presidential historian and author was inspired when as a 24-year-old graduate student at Harvard she was selected to join the White House Fellows, one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. At the White House celebration of the newly chosen Fellows, she and the other two female Fellows found themselves sharing the dance floor with President Johnson. Johnson told Doris he wanted her to be assigned directly to him in the White House. But it was not to be that simple. For like many young people, she had been active in the anti-Vietnam War movement and had co-authored an article that called for the removal of LBJ from office and was published in the New Republic several days after the White House dance. Despite this, LBJ said: “Bring her down here for a year and if I can’t win her over no one can.” She worked with Johnson in the White House and later assisted him in the writing of his memoirs.

Doris then wrote Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, which became a national bestseller and achieved critical acclaim. It was re-released in Spring 2019, highlighting LBJ’s accomplishments in domestic affairs.

Doris has served as a consultant and has been interviewed extensively for PBS and HISTORY’s documentaries on Presidents Johnson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, the Kennedy family, and on Ken Burns’ “The History of Baseball” and “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.” She served as a consultant on HBO Films’ “All the Way” starring Bryan Cranston as President Johnson. She played herself as a teacher to Lisa Simpson on “The Simpsons” and a historian on “American Horror Story.”

Doris graduated magna cum laude from Colby College and will be delivering the commencement address there in 2024. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Government from Harvard University, where she taught Government, including a course on the American Presidency.

Doris was the first woman to enter the Boston Red Sox locker room, and is a devoted fan of the World Series-winning team. She has three sons, four grandchildren and lives in Boston.

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