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Women To Watch: Trend Tracker® Tara Gilani With Doris Kearns Goodwin

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Jewish Celebrities

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world renowned Presidential historian and Pulitzer prize winning author.

Goodwin has written six New York Times bestselling books. One on baseball and five on U.S. presidents including “Team of Rivals,” the basis for Steven Spielberg’s major motion picture, “Lincoln,” which grossed $275 million at the box office and was nominated for 12 Academy Awards.

Spielberg and Goodwin will team up again as Spielberg’s Dreamworks Studio recently acquired the film rights to Doris’s latest book “The Bull Pulpit,” published by Simon & Schuster. It’s the story of the intense friendship and rivalry between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s books are captivating because she is a master storyteller.

“Story is what history is all about. It’s just about people who lived before. I think the key is letters and diaries and private journals from these people so you can speak in their voice,” explained Goodwin to Trend Tracker® Tara Gilani who caught up with her at a VIP Miami Book Fair reception.

Working for Lyndon Baines Johnson got Goodwin interested in writing about Presidents.

“I was with him the last year of his White House years and then helped him on his memoirs at the end of his life. That experience fired within me the drive to understand the inner person behind the public figure and look empathetically at my subjects as I moved from LBJ to JFK to FDR to Lincoln and finally to Teddy and Taft.”

Goodwin knew JFK and family because her husband worked in the Kennedy White House.

In addition to knowing about President’s who have passed, she also knows the current President.

“I’ve gotten to know President Obama because he read “Team of Rivals” and called me on my cell phone and said “we have to talk.” He has these historian dinners where we bring advice on Presidents. In these settings, he’s fabulous. Everyone gets a chance to speak. He likes listening to ideas. He loves history and going back in time,” said Goodwin.

In addition to U.S. Commanders in Chief, Goodwin is an expert on baseball and she’s a huge Red Sox fan which is lovingly chronicled in “Wait Till Next Year,” one of her six New York Times bestsellers.  And how’s this for history: Doris was the first woman to enter the Boston Red Sox locker room!

Goodwin doesn’t throw curve balls.

“Baseball is my real passion. From the time I was a little girl and my father taught me how to keep score, I would record for him the history of all the afternoon games. That is where history became my love. We have season tickets and we go to a massive number of games. I think about baseball every morning and every night. It’s a nutty thing but I love it!”

Gilani had to ask about A-Rod and Goodwin replied thoughtfully and with heart.

“I wish he hadn’t sought to fight this thing because it seems there’s going to be an inevitable conclusion and it’s putting Major League Baseball in a difficult bind and him in a terrible bind.”

Gilani describes Doris as delightful and asked her what her favorite song is.

“OOOOklahoma….where the wind comes sweeping down the plain,” Goodwin sang the familiar refrain.

What some may find surprising, Goodwin’s favorite TV shows are not on the History Channel. “Downton Abbey” and “Mad Men” are two of the writer’s favorites.

Goodwin is truly inspiring so Gilani thought it was fitting to ask her who it is that inspires her.

“It was my father. I’m the third girl. He kept telling me ‘You can do anything a boy can do’ and this was back in the 50’s. He made me feel I could be whatever I wanted to be. And that’s where the love of sports came from which crossed lines to allow me to be friends with guys all of my life.

She shared a great story where she had gone twice to see the same movie, to please a boyfriend to which her father told her, ‘Tell him you already saw it, don’t go again just for him’.”

That story made it clear that a lot of her guts and gusto come from her dad.

For more on all things Doris Kearns Goodwin, visit www.DorisKearnsGoodwin.com

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