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In Conversation: Doris Kearns Goodwin

Tue, June 4 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

L to R: Book cover for "An Unfinished Story" and head shot of Doris Kearns Goodwin

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Pulitzer Prize winner, #1 New York Times best-selling author, and 2006 BOOKED for the evening honoree Doris Kearns Goodwin returns to the Library for an intimate conversation about her latest book, An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s.

This event is a coproduction between the Library and the Remarkable Theater.

About the Book

Biography, memoir, and history all-in-one, Kearns Goodwin takes readers along on the emotional journey she and her husband, Richard (Dick) Goodwin embarked upon in the last years of his life.

Dick and Doris were married for 42 years and married to American history even longer. In his 20s, Dick was one of the brilliant young men of John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier. In his 30s, he both named and helped design Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and was a speechwriter and close advisor to Robert Kennedy. Doris Kearns was a 24-four-year-old graduate student when selected as a White House Fellow. She worked directly for Lyndon Johnson and later assisted on his memoir.

Over the years, with humor, anger, frustration, and in the end, growing understanding, Dick and Doris had argued, questioned, and debated the achievements and the failings of the leaders they served and observed, debating the progress and unfinished promises of the country they both loved.

The Goodwins’ last great adventure involved finally opening the more than three hundred boxes of letters, diaries, documents, and memorabilia that Dick had carted around, largely unexamined, for more than fifty years. They soon realized they had before them an unparalleled personal time capsule of the 1960s, illuminating public and private moments of a decade when individuals were powered by the conviction they could make a difference; a time, like today, marked by struggles for racial and economic justice, a time when lines were drawn and loyalties tested.

Said Kearns Goodwin: “America has been at odds with itself before. I’ve been drawn to such turbulent times — the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, World War II. This is the story of one of those times, of my husband and myself, and our generation shaped by the cataclysms of the 1960s. We see what historic opportunities were seized, what chances were lost, what light those years cast upon our own fractured time. ‘The end of our country has loomed many times before,’ my husband often reminded me, ‘America is not as fragile as it seems.’”

Their expedition gave Dick’s last years renewed purpose and determination. It gave Doris the opportunity to connect and reconnect with participants and witnesses of pivotal moments of the 1960s. And it gave them both an opportunity to make fresh assessments of the central figures of the time — 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.

With An Unfinished Love Story, Kearns Goodwin has now written her most personal and profound work of history, which readers will find both a revelation and an inspiration.

About the Author

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s work for President Lyndon Johnson inspired her career as a presidential historian. Her first book was Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. She followed up with the Pulitzer Prize-winning No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Homefront in World War II. She earned the Lincoln Prize for Team of Rivals, in part the basis for Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln, and the Carnegie Medal for The Bully Pulpit, chronicle of the friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Her previous book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times, was the inspiration for the History Channel docuseries on Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt, which she executive produced.

More Resources...
History Reference Center
Teddy Roosevelt
Abraham Lincoln


Tue, June 4
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
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20 Jesup Road
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