February 13, 2014

Goodwin to launch Distinguished Speaker Series

by Rae Goldsmith

Doris Kearns GoodwinCARBONDALE, Ill. -- Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” will launch a new distinguished speaker series at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on March 20. Team of Rivals was the basis for the recent Steven Spielberg movie “Lincoln.”

The SIU Distinguished Speaker Series is designed to bring influential speakers to Southern Illinois to discuss ideas and issues of significance to the region, state and world, according to Chancellor Rita Cheng.

“We want to enhance the academic experience by providing our students with access to thought-leaders across the professions,” Cheng said. “We also want to further engage our community in the academic and intellectual life of the university.”

A campus committee will recommend speakers, welcoming input from faculty, staff, students and community members, Cheng said.

“We’re very pleased and honored that Doris Kearns Goodwin will launch the series given her profile as a world-renowned historian and author,” Cheng said.

Goodwin is the author of several books and has been reporting on politics and baseball for over two decades. She appears regularly on network television programs and was an on-air consultant for PBS documentaries on Lyndon B. Johnson, the Kennedy Family, Franklin Roosevelt and Ken Burns' “The History of Baseball.” She was the first female journalist to enter the Red Sox locker room.

Goodwin was born and raised on Long Island, New York. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Colby College and her Ph.D. in government from Harvard University, where she taught government, including a course on the American Presidency. Following her tenure at Harvard, Goodwin served as an assistant to Lyndon Johnson in his last year in the White House. She later assisted Johnson in the preparation of his memoirs.

In 1976, Goodwin authored “Lyndon Johnson & The American Dream,” which became a New York Times best-seller. She followed in 1987 with the political biography “The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys,” which stayed on The New York Times best-seller list for five months was made into a six-hour ABC miniseries in 1990.

Her next book, “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Home Front During World War II,” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in April 1995 and also earned the Harold Washington Literary Award, the New England Bookseller Association Award, the Ambassador Book Award and the Washington Monthly Book Award. It was a New York Times best- seller for six months.

Goodwin's book “Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir,” published in 1997, is about growing up in the 1950s in love with the Brooklyn Dodgers. It has been a New York Times best-seller as well as a Book of the Month Club selection. A Washington Post reviewer wrote: "This is a book in the grand tradition of girlhood memoirs, dating from Louisa May Alcott to Carson McCullers and Harper Lee."

“Team of Rivals,” a monumental history of Abraham Lincoln published in 2005, joined the best-seller lists on its first week in publication and soon reached No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list. It won the 2006 Lincoln Prize for an outstanding work about the president and the Civil War, the
New York Historical Society Book Prize, the Richard Nelson Current Award and the New York State Archives History Makers Award.

Goodwin's most recent book, “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism,” is a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air. Dreamworks Studios and Steven Spielberg have acquired the film rights to the book, which was published in November.

Details about Goodwin’s March 20 speech will be forthcoming.