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Publisher Description


“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.

Intro and Afterword Read by the Author
hr min
September 18
Simon & Schuster Audio

Customer Reviews

Think-it-through ,

Highly Recommended

Both this book and it’s delivery in audiobook format are remarkable works. Goodwin exemplifies the highest values and skills of historian and biographer. I saw little evidence of glossing over the unsavory aspects of these Commanders-in-Chief. It is both a solid display of research and editing. Better still is her story-telling. The audiobook is art fully presented by the author and four actors: each of whom read the different sections covering a dedicated President. Above all, I find this work inspirational; it encourages me to be a better human and to strive for the classic virtues of leadership these men exemplified (though not always) at strategic moments in our country’s history. I’m listening to it now a third time. (Note: those who possess a basic understanding of 19th and 20th Centuries US history will be at home with this work. It assumes this of readers and never “talks down” to us.)

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