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Monday, January 4, 2016

Shaping history into stories of life

“Journalism still, in a democracy, is the essential force to get the public educated and mobilized to take action on behalf of our ancient ideals.” – Doris Kearns Goodwin

Biographer, historian, journalist and political commentator Kearns (born this day in 1943) has authored critically acclaimed biographies of several U.S. presidents, including her remarkable Pulitzer Prize-winning No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II and her most recent The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.

“As a historian,” she noted, “what I trust is my ability to take a mass of information and tell a story shaped around it.”  
She has become a true master at blending history and eloquent writing.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, she grew up loving the old Brooklyn Dodgers and gravitated toward sportswriting as well.    While simultaneously teaching at Harvard, she wrote sports and was the first female journalist to enter the Boston Red Sox locker room.  She consulted on and appeared in Ken Burns’ 1994 documentary Baseball, just one of many consulting gigs she has done for everything from PBS specials to Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln.  She also has been a frequent guest on The Charley Rose Show and Meet the Press.

“I shall always be grateful for this curious love of history,” Kearns said, “allowing me to spend a lifetime looking back into the past; allowing me to learn from these large figures about the struggle for meaning and for life.”

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