An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s by Doris Kearns Goodwin


Pulitzer Prize winner, best-selling author, and “America’s Historian-in-Chief” (New York)

Doris Kearns Goodwin delivers An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s, publishing on April 16, 2024. Biography, memoir, and history all-in-one, she takes readers along on the emotional journey she and her husband, Richard (Dick) Goodwin embarked upon in the last years of his life.

Dick and Doris 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, growing understanding, Dick and Doris had argued, questioned, and debated the achievements and the 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 carted around, largely unexamined, 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.

Says Doris Kearns Goodwin: “America has been at odds with itself before. I’ve been drawn to such turbulent times—the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, World War II. This is the story of one of those times, of my husband and myself, and our generation shaped by the cataclysms of the 1960s. We see what historic opportunities were seized, what chances were lost, what light those years cast upon our own fractured time. ‘The end of our country has loomed many times before,’ my husband often reminded me, ‘America is not as fragile as it seems.’”

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.With An Unfinished Love Story, Doris Kearns Goodwin has now written her most personal and profound work of history, which readers will find both a revelation and an inspiration.

About the author:

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s work for President Lyndon Johnson launched 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, chronicle of the friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Her previous book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times was the inspiration for the History Channel docuseries on Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt, which she executive produced. Visit her at:

About the book:

Title: An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s

Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin

Publisher: Simon & Schuster    

Publication date: April 16, 2024

For more information, visit:

Praise for An Unfinished Love Story:

“Words matter. With their power to inspire, illuminate, instruct, and influence, the words a president or other prominent individual says at the right time can quell tension or encourage reform, embolden noble deeds or suppress destructive action. As speechwriter and advisor to JFK, RFK, and LBJ, Dick Goodwin wrote some of the most powerful speeches of the 1960s, a time when America was catapulting from the New Frontier to the Great Society and challenged by upheaval at home and abroad. Although he and Doris Kearns were moons orbiting the same political planets, they did not meet until 1972, when both were working at Harvard. Their adjacent experiences and shared passion for politics, justice, and the presidency was the foundation of a love that would last until Goodwin’s death in 2018. As befits all great researchers and eyewitnesses to history, the Goodwins collected a vast trove of archival material from their years as presidential advisers and authors, and it is this unparalleled source material that historian, biographer, and political commentator Kearns Goodwin mines to galvanizing effect in a memoir that purrs with beguiling intimacy and bubbles with effervescent appreciation for an exceptional marriage during more than four decades of profound mutual engagement with politics, social struggles, and each other. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The presidential biographer's renown will lure readers to her most personal book.”—Booklist, starred review

“A heartfelt tribute to the author’s late husband and a captivating reflection on this pivotal era in American politics.”—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Doris Kearns Goodwin:

“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 great political figures back to life.” —New York Times  

“She’s a national treasure.”—Anderson Cooper


Praise for Dick Goodwin:

“Dick Goodwin was the greatest public policy speechwriter in our history.”–Joseph Califano 

“It’s not an overstatement, merely a statement of fact to say that Dick Goodwin, reconstructed Mass liberal working not under his own name but for those he served, affected your life today in ways you perhaps weren’t aware of. He changed his country and improved life for his fellow citizens.” –Brian Williams