Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, born Doris Helen Kearns

Pulitzer Prize-winning American Biographer, Presidential Historian and Political Commentator

"One of the most underestimated of all political resources is personal attention."

"The past is not simply the past, but a prism through which the subject filters his own changing self-image."

"That is what leadership is all about: staking your ground ahead of where opinion is and convincing people, not simply following the popular opinion of the moment. "

"Once a president gets to the White House, the only audience that is left that really matters is history. "

"Where's the progress that we're going to see in Afghanistan? You have to keep public support both on the economy and the war or these things will really become troubling."

"Lincoln's ability to retain his emotional balance in such difficult situations was rooted in actute self-awareness and an enormous capacity to dispel anxiety in constructive ways."

"Generally, what gives me the most pleasure really is sharing with the audience some of the experiences and the stories of more than two decades now spent in writing this series of presidential biographies. In being able to talk about how you do it, what the experience is in interviewing people and talking to people who knew the people and going through the letters and sifting it through. Essentially just telling your favorite stories of the various people.... The great thing is that as you accumulate more and more subjects, there are more and more great stories to share. I think what the audience likes to hear are some of the stories that reveal character and the human traits of some of these figures who might otherwise seem distant to them."

"Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation."

"And as for the final sphere of love and friendship, I can only say it gets harder once the natural communities of college and home town are gone. It takes work and commitment, demands toleration for human frailties, forgiveness for the inevitable disappointment and betrayals that come even with the best of relationships. "