Doris Kearns Goodwin
Notes from Evan Smith
"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. If that sounds like a line from The Godfather -- well, it is. But it's also the lesson of Doris Kearns Goodwin's new acclaimed biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. As Goodwin tells it, after winning the presidency, Lincoln decided to bring into his cabinet the smartest and most talented people he could find -- and he looked no further than his challengers in the election of 1860 -- adversaries all, but the best and the brightest of their day. Hard to imagine, in an era when chief executives are more likely to be surrounded by yes-men, and when politics routinely trumps policy, that a room full of competing visions can produce results. But that vision and foresight and selflessness was what made Lincoln Lincoln. And while we're talking about the best and the brightest, let us acknowledge that Goodwin herself is no slouch -- a peerless historian, engaging storyteller, in-demand talking head, and elegant writer who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for No Ordinary Time, her biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. 62-year-old Goodwin, who has a Ph.D in government from Harvard University, has also written best-selling biographies of LBJ, her onetime boss, and the Kennedys, along with a terrific memoir of her years growing up as a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Of course, unlike Team of Rivals, none of those books was optioned by Steven Spielberg; yes, coming soon, Liam Neeson as Honest Abe."
- Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 2.1.07