An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The ideals, tumult, and tragedy of 1960s America spring to live in this authentic first-hand account. Richard Goodwin worked in the highest echelons of government through the decade, and near the end of his life literally unpacked his memories to give his wife the ingredients to craft this engrossing personal and political history. — Mike Hare

I am an unabashed fan of Doris Kearns Goodwin's writing. For my money, there's no finer chronicler of presidential history; she brings her subjects to life with all of their faults and all of their triumphs with her absorbing style. This book delivers on two levels. First, it is an intimate look at the 60s as remembered by a man who played a critical role in the lives of the men who shaped the decade: the Kennedys, LBJ, Eugene McCarthy, and others. As she and her husband pored through hundreds of boxes of memorabilia, they relived the history that both of them lived through and wrote about. More than just a history lesson, it is also a heartfelt, loving memoir in tribute to her husband, Dick Goodwin, who passed away before this book came to life. A fabulous journey for them...and us! — Lauren Singer


An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s by Doris Kearns Goodwin, one of America’s most beloved historians, artfully weaves together biography, memoir, and history. She takes you along on the emotional journey she and her husband, Richard (Dick) Goodwin embarked upon in the last years of his life.

Dick and Doris Goodwin were married for forty-two years and married to American history even longer. In his twenties, Dick was one of the brilliant young men of John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier. In his thirties he both named and helped design Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and was a speechwriter and close advisor to Robert Kennedy. Doris Kearns was a twenty-four-year-old graduate student when selected as a White House Fellow. She worked directly for Lyndon Johnson and later assisted on his memoir.

Over the years, with humor, anger, frustration, and in the end, a growing understanding, Dick and Doris had argued over the achievements and failings of the leaders they served and observed, debating the progress and unfinished promises of the country they both loved.

The Goodwins’ last great adventure involved finally opening the more than three hundred boxes of letters, diaries, documents, and memorabilia that Dick had saved for more than fifty years. They soon realized they had before them an unparalleled personal time capsule of the 1960s, illuminating public and private moments of a decade when individuals were powered by the conviction they could make a difference; a time, like today, marked by struggles for racial and economic justice, a time when lines were drawn and loyalties tested.

Their expedition gave Dick’s last years renewed purpose and determination. It gave Doris the opportunity to connect and reconnect with participants and witnesses of pivotal moments of the 1960s. And it gave them both an opportunity to make fresh assessments of the central figures of the time—John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, and especially Lyndon Johnson, who greatly impacted both their lives. The voyage of remembrance brought unexpected discoveries, forgiveness, and the renewal of old dreams, reviving the hope that the youth of today will carry forward this unfinished love story with America.

About the Author

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s work for President Johnson inspired her career as a presidential historian. Her first book was Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. She followed up with the Pulitzer Prize–winning No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Homefront in World War II. She earned the Lincoln Prize for Team of Rivals, in part the basis for Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln, and the Carnegie Medal for The Bully Pulpit, about the friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Her bestselling Leadership: In Turbulent Times was the inspiration for the History Channel docuseries on Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt, which she executive produced. Her most recent book, An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s, provides a front-row seat to the pivotal people—JFK, LBJ, RFK and MLK—and events of this momentous decade.

Praise For…

"Just as An Unfinished Love Story is a testament to the Kearns Goodwin marriage, so is it a love story of the United States and its democratic government. The many speeches written by Goodwin, the writings of Kearns Goodwin and both their reflections demonstrate that words do indeed matter."—The Columbus Dispatch 


"America's historian-in-chief."—New York magazine 

"A giant on the history and biography shelves."—The Washington Post

"With her skillful grasp of revealing detail, Ms. Goodwin brings political figures back to life."—The New York Times 

"She's a national treasure."—Anderson Cooper 


Product Details
ISBN: 9781982108663
ISBN-10: 1982108665
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 16th, 2024
Pages: 480
Language: English