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Summary

Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"After five decades of magisterial output, Doris Kearns Goodwin leads the league of presidential historians. Insight is her imprint."-- USA TODAY

"A book like Leadership should help us raise our expectations of our national leaders, our country and ourselves."-- The Washington Post

"We can only hope that a few of Goodwin's many readers will find in her subjects' examples a margin of inspiration and a resolve to steer the country to a better place."-- The New York Times Book Review

In this culmination of five decades of acclaimed studies in presidential history, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin offers an illuminating exploration of the early development, growth, and exercise of leadership.

Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader?

In Leadership , Goodwin draws upon the four presidents she has studied most closely--Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)--to show how they recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking back to their first entries into public life, we encounter them at a time when their paths were filled with confusion, fear, and hope.

Leadership tells the story of how they all collided with dramatic reversals that disrupted their lives and threatened to shatter forever their ambitions. Nonetheless, they all emerged fitted to confront the contours and dilemmas of their times.

No common pattern describes the trajectory of leadership. Although set apart in background, abilities, and temperament, these men shared a fierce ambition and a deep-seated resilience that enabled them to surmount uncommon hardships. At their best, all four were guided by a sense of moral purpose. At moments of great challenge, they were able to summon their talents to enlarge the opportunities and lives of others.

This seminal work provides an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field. In today's polarized world, these stories of authentic leadership in times of apprehension and fracture take on a singular urgency.


Author Notes

Doris Kearns Goodwin was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 4, 1943. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Colby College in 1964 and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University in 1968. She taught at Harvard University and worked as an assistant to President Lyndon Johnson during his last year in the White House.

She has written numerous books including The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, Wait Till Next Year, and The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, and Leadership: In Turbulent Times. She has received numerous awards including Pulitzer Prize in history, the Harold Washington Literary Award, the Ambassador Book Award for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II, and the Lincoln Prize and the Book Prize for American History for Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In our own turbulent times, presidential leadership its qualities, requirements, and outcomes has become an important concern. While presidential historian Goodwin (The Bully Pulpit, 2013) does not address the present situation in this beautifully written meditation on the topic, her assessment of four respected presidents' abilities as leaders cannot help but contribute to current debates. Goodwin considers Lincoln, both Roosevelts, and Lyndon Johnson, all subjects of her previous work, in a three-part inquiry that begins with discussion of each president's formative experiences and early public life, moves to a life-altering crisis for each man and its impact on his trajectory, and, finally, focuses on an episode during that man's time in office that illustrates his particular approach to leadership under difficult conditions. Goodwin offers no single template for presidential leadership, concluding that the successes of these men reflected unique convergences of the individual, his context, and the crisis at hand. She does, however, identify common and essential characteristics among her legendary subjects: responsiveness to human needs, willingness to evolve, and a wish to be remembered for their achievements. Pulitzer- and Carnegie Medal-winning historian Goodwin draws on 50 years of scholarship in this strong and resonant addition to the literature of the presidency. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling Goodwin's numerous in-person and media appearances will fuel steady interest in this expert, extremely relevant study.--Sara Jorgensen Copyright 2018 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Goodwin (Team of Rivals) further burnishes her credentials as a popular historian with this thoughtful revisiting of the lives of four presidents to whom she has previously dedicated individual books-Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson-with the aim of obtaining answers to eternal questions about leadership, including what life experiences contribute to it and whether "the times make the leader" or vice versa. She toggles back and forth between her subjects in sections that trace their upbringings and ambitions, the adversities that tested them (such as personal tragedies and crippling illness), and their approach to the major challenges that confronted them as presidents. She notes commonalities-each of the four was determined to outwork political opponents-as well as differences, for example contrasting Lincoln's impoverished childhood with the privileged upbringing both Roosevelts had. The meat of the book is four chapters, one for each subject, about important episodes in their presidencies, with headings naming elements of their leadership styles ("Acknowledge when failed policies demand a change in direction"; "Don't hit unless you have to, but when you hit, hit hard"). Goodwin does not shy from criticism, especially of Johnson, whom she worked for in the White House and helped with his memoirs; she writes that he stumbled badly on Vietnam. But overall the tone is inspirational, setting forth examples of how to do leadership right. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Are great leaders born or made? What qualities make a great leader? Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Goodwin (Team of Rivals) sets out to answer these questions by examining the lives of the four presidents she has studied most thoroughly: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. This book is divided into three sections: "Ambition and the Recognition of Leadership," "Adversity and Growth," and "The Leader and the Times: How They Led." In each, biographical chapters detail a time when each man's leadership skills and abilities were formed, tested, and at their peak. In the final chapter, Goodwin lists the various traits each president displayed and analyzes these through a case study. Although none of these men displayed the exact same qualities to the same degree, their leadership styles fit the needs of the nation at that particular moment. The author concludes that learned leadership skills in conjunction with the right timing in history led these men to success. VERDICT Goodwin distills years of scholarship into an easily accessible study of leadership qualities that will appeal to anybody interested in American history, U.S. presidents, and leadership studies. [See Prepub Alert, 3/26/18.]-Chad E. Statler, Westlake Porter P.L., Westlake, OH © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
I Ambition and the Recognition of Leadership
1 Abraham: "Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition"p. 3
2 Theodore: "I rose like a rocket"p. 21
3 Franklin: "No, call me Franklin"p. 39
4 Lyndon: "A steam engine in pants"p. 68
II Adversity and Growth
5 Abraham Lincoln: "I must die or be better"p. 97
6 Theodore Roosevelt: "The light has gone out of my life"p. 124
7 Franklin Roosevelt: "Above all, try something"p. 160
8 Lyndon Johnson: "The most miserable period of my life"p. 182
III The Leader and the Times: How They Led
9 Transformational Leadership: Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamationp. 211
10 Crisis Management: Theodore Roosevelt and the Coal Strikep. 243
11 Turnaround Leadership: Franklin Roosevelt and the Hundred Daysp. 273
12 Visionary Leadership: Lyndon Johnson and Civil Rightsp. 306
Epilogue: Of Death and Remembrancep. 345
Acknowledgmentsp. 369
Bibliographyp. 371
Business Books on Leadership Skillsp. 383
Abbreviations Used in Notesp. 387
Notesp. 389
Illustration Creditsp. 449
Indexp. 451

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