Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin Wednesday evening guided 1,300 lecture attendees through the heartache of Lincoln’s early years, the cold gore of World War II during Roosevelt’s presidency and all the way to the current conflicts in the U.S. Congress.
Goodwin, the biographer of several presidents, presented, “Team of Rivals: The Leadership Lessons from Abraham Lincoln,” as part of the Joy Cole Corning Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series at the University of Northern Iowa.
Most recently, Goodwin’s book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” met the big screen through Steven Spielberg’s film, “Lincoln.”
“It may seem an odd profession, spending one’s days and nights with dead presidents, but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin’s talk recounted more than a century of stories, including the moment in 1818 when Lincoln was only 9-years-old and his mother died.
“As a result of her death, he became obsessed with the thought that when we died, that was the last of us,” Goodwin said. “Only as he grew older did he find consolation in the thought that if he could accomplish something worthy in his life, he would live on in the memory of others.”
As a frequent commentator on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Goodwin also discussed the current state of American politics.
“Somehow the debt crisis will get solved and the government shutdown will end,” Goodwin said. “But unless there’s projection of leadership on both sides and they’re proud being leaders and they’re able to compromise and get the country’s work done, then I worry fewer good people are going to want to be a part of that cycle.”
Goodwin’s next book, “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism,” will be published Nov. 5.