Doris Kearns Goodwin is one of the most renowned historians in America today. Goodwin’s extraordinary career began in 1967 with her time in the White House under the Johnson administration where she served as a White House fellow. In 1968 she earned a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University, with a thesis entitled “Prayer and Reapportionment: an Analysis of the Relationship between the Congress and the Court.” After Johnson left office in 1969, Kearns taught government at Harvard for ten years, including a course on the American presidency. During this period she also assisted Johnson in drafting his memoirs. Her first book, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, which drew upon her conversations with the late president, was published in 1977. It became a New York Times bestseller and provided a launching pad for her literary career.
Goodwin won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Homefront During World War II. Goodwin won the 2005 Lincoln Prize, awarded for the best book about the American Civil War, for Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, a book about Abraham Lincoln’s presidential cabinet. The book also won the inaugural American History Book Prize given by the New York Historical Society. Goodwin’s Lincoln biography has earned somewhat of a legendary status, and when President Obama came in to office he met with Goodwin several times to gather advice from her in-person on Lincoln’s leadership secrets and personal character. Goodwin is currently working on her next book which will be about Theodore Roosevelt, focusing on his relationship with William Howard Taft, the election of 1912 and the muckraking journalism of the Progressive era.
The evening following President Obama’s re-election, Goodwin sat down with Charlie Rose to discuss the paralysis that plagues Washington at the moment, and her incredible insight into how this could be repaired. Her number one recommendation to Obama is to take advantage of the White House itself which she refers to as the ultimate psychological negotiation machine. She also explains the historical precedent for the use of alcohol, poker and sports as three of the most irreplaceable mechanisms for bridging the divide between the two parties.
This is an incredible story and you need to treat yourself this conversation in the red link below. Doris Kearns Goodwin was also an advisor on Steven Spielberg’s upcoming LINCOLN epic, and you can watch her tell the story of what happened when Spielberg brought her on set one day where he opened the film studio door to reveal something that blew her mind wide open. And to browse TIME’s new incredible collection of colorized Abraham Lincoln photographs visit TIME.com.
YOU CAN WATCH CHARLIE ROSE’S INTERVIEW WITH DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN IN FULL BY FAST FORWARDING TO THE 30:05 MARK.