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Leadership In Turbulent Times

Released:  September 18, 2018

byDoris Kearns Goodwin(Author)

Available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook, and CD

  •         Hardcover:496 pages
  •         Publisher:Simon & Schuster; First Edition/First Printing 
  •         ISBN-10:1476795924
  •         ISBN-13:978-1476795928
  •         Product Dimensions:6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  •         Shipping Weight:2 pounds 

I’d call this book, case studies on how to deal with difficult situations.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Harvard history professor, frames the leadership question around the lives of the four US Presidents she has already written books about: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Her classes have a primary focus on the lives and careers of these four men. 

She spent her life studying those four US presidents – Lincoln, the two Roosevelts, and Johnson – detailing and comparing  their personalities, skills and character traits. 

The thick book is divided into three sections: 1.  Ambition and the recognition of leadership. 2. Adversity and growth. 3. The leader and their times, how they led. Also included is a complete bibliography.

The author points out how these four, although each very different in personality, also shared high intelligence and resilience, and set their goals early in life. The book demonstrates politically how leaders are made, not born. Each one had the desire to enter politics, each leader encountered calamitous blows that knocked them down but they got back up and tackled the struggles that were tearing the country apart during their time in office. Those in the top office before them could have addressed the problem, but they kicked the can down the road. 

She describes Lincoln’s delivery of the Emancipation Proclamation to approach the crisis of slavery and the Civil War, Theodore Roosevelt’s handling of labor strikes for the rise of giant corporations, FDR’s battle against the Great Depression in his first 100 days,  and Johnson’s prioritization of civil rights to fight racial discrimination while the country was still mourning the death of JFK.

While I have always admired Lincoln, and respected the two Roosevelts for their accomplishments in spite of their wealth, I never felt that LBJ was so much to be admired. The author gave me a new view of Johnson’s term in office. 

I highly recommend the book to historians, or anyone interested in politics and leadership.