Reviews for An Unfinished Love Story

by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The renowned presidential historian delves into the Kennedy and Johnson eras, drawing from the archives and personal insights of her husband, a former speechwriter for both leaders. In the years before Richard “Dick” Goodwin's death in 2018, he and his wife, Kearns Goodwin, embarked on an ambitious project that unfolded into a poignant journey through time. Together, they delved into Dick's extensive trove of personal memorabilia, comprising diaries, letters, and countless documents housed in hundreds of boxes—a testament to his devoted service in both administrations. Upon reflection, moments of conflicting insights and assessments of the two presidents occasionally surfaced, notably in the case of Johnson, with whom the author collaborated after his term in office. Their conversations laid the groundwork for her debut book, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. In earlier years, Dick had skillfully crafted many of Johnson's most significant speeches, commemorating historic bills such as the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which contained the iconic words, "We Shall Overcome.” As the author writes, “we experienced the man at different times—Dick at the height of the Sixties, me toward the end of the decade and the end of Lyndon Johnson’s life. And during that decade of the Sixties, he so changed both our lives that here we were, in our seventies and eighties, still arguing, bantering, and trying to come to terms with his enormous impact on us and on the country.” Resigning from Johnson's administration in 1965, Dick transitioned to teaching roles at various institutions and authoring numerous books and articles. However, it’s this earlier career phase that ignited the fecund author's imagination, serving as the foundation for how their perspectives on the trajectory of politics and the nation had shifted. A heartfelt tribute to the author’s late husband and a captivating reflection on this pivotal era in American politics. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.