Get Doris Kearns Goodwin essential facts below. View Videos or join the Doris Kearns Goodwin discussion. Add Doris Kearns Goodwin to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
In 1967, Kearns went to Washington, D.C. as a White House Fellow during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. Johnson initially expressed interest in hiring the young intern as his Oval Office assistant, but after an article by Kearns appeared in The New Republic laying out a scenario for Johnson's removal from office over his conduct of the war in Vietnam, she was instead assigned to the Department of Labor; Goodwin has written that she felt relieved to be able to remain in the internship program in any capacity at all. "The president discovered that I had been actively involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement and had written an article entitled, 'How to Dump Lyndon Johnson'. I thought for sure he would kick me out of the program, but instead, he said, 'Oh, bring her down here for a year and if I can't win her over, no one can'." After Johnson decided not to run for reelection, he brought Kearns to the White House as a member of his staff, where she focused on domestic anti-poverty efforts.
After Johnson left office in 1969, Kearns taught government at Harvard for 10 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, becoming a New York Times bestseller and provided a launching pad for her literary career.
A sports journalist as well, Goodwin was the first female journalist to enter the Boston Red Sox locker room in 1979. She consulted on and appeared in Ken Burns's 1994 documentary Baseball.
Stephen King met with Goodwin while he was writing his novel 11/22/63, due to her being an assistant to Johnson, and King used some of her ideas in the novel on what a worst-case scenario would be like if history had changed.
In 2020, she was a regular guest on various MSNBC programs as well as on CNN as an expert presidential historian.
In 2002, The Weekly Standard determined that her book The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys used without attribution numerous phrases and sentences from three other books: Times to Remember by Rose Kennedy; The Lost Prince by Hank Searl; and Kathleen Kennedy: Her Life and Times by Lynne McTaggart. McTaggart remarked, "If somebody takes a third of somebody's book, which is what happened to me, they are lifting out the heart and guts of somebody else's individual expression." Goodwin had previously reached a "private settlement" with McTaggart over the issue. In an article she wrote for Time magazine, she said, "Though my footnotes repeatedly cited Ms. McTaggart's work, I failed to provide quotation marks for phrases that I had taken verbatim... The larger question for those of us who write history is to understand how citation mistakes can happen." In its analysis of the controversy, Slate magazine criticized Goodwin for the aggrieved tone of her explanation, and suggested Goodwin's worst offense was allowing the plagiarism to remain in future editions of the book even after it was brought to her attention.
Slate also reported that there were multiple passages in Goodwin's book on the Roosevelts (No Ordinary Time) that were apparently taken from Joseph Lash's Eleanor and Franklin, Hugh Gregory Gallagher's FDR's Splendid Deception, and other books, although she "scrupulously" footnoted the material. The Los Angeles Times also reported the problems with The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys.
Growing up on Long Island, Goodwin was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. She remembered that her father would have her document the events from the baseball game from the radio and replay the events of the game for him when he returned home. Goodwin stopped following baseball after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, but later became a Boston Red Sox fan while attending Harvard, and is now a season ticket holder.
In 1975, Kearns married Richard N. Goodwin, who had worked in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations as an adviser and speechwriter. The two met in mid-1972 at Harvard's Institute of Politics. Richard Goodwin was a widower who had a son, also named Richard, from his first marriage. At the time he and Kearns married, his son was nine years old. The couple, who lived in Concord, Massachusetts, had two sons together, Michael and Joseph. Richard Goodwin died on May 20, 2018, after a brief battle with cancer.