Page 120 | Volume 1 | The Leadership Journal of Dallas Baptist University

120 Ducere Est Servire: THE LEADERSHIP JOURNAL OF DALLAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Leadership in Turbulent Times. New York: NY: Simon & Schuster, 2018. 496 pp. $30.00. There is no doubt that Doris Kearns Goodwin’s New York Times best-selling Leadership in Turbulent Times is a good book. It is a tour-de-force of history and biography, mixed with plenteous leadership lessons along the way. Having won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995, it should come as no surprise that Goodwin’s writing is engaging. But is this a good leadership book? After all, the title positions the book primarily in the field of leadership studies rather than history or biography. Yet, the category listing right above the barcode and ISBN on the back cover seems to indicate a contradictory designation. It says “history.” This mixed signaling is both the great strength of the book as well as its great weakness. Leadership in Turbulent Times examines four American presidents whom Goodwin has previously written biographies about: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. The book is divided into three sections, covering each leader’s early development, defining crucible moments, and overall summary as a leader. It is the final section that is most specifically focused on leadership. The first two sections are peppered with leadership implications, but their main purpose is to provide historical and biographical context for each leader. These first eight chapters are thus descriptive in nature, while the final four are prescriptive. Goodwin’s expertise with each leader’s overall life story is evinced through her selection of material corresponding to each part of her outline. While those who have read her previous biographies may already be familiar with many of these vignettes, the broader audience this book is aimed at will surely be equal parts captivated and enlightened as they perambulate across historical material spanning the early 19th all the way to the late 20th century. Students of leadership will be challenged by Goodwin’s thorough and incisive recognition of each leader’s key turning points. There is real merit in Goodwin’s extrapolations that can serve to spark further leadership connections. The mixture of history, biography, and leadership provides rich soil to germinate additional leadership insights in readers. However, the book’s quality is not the same as its overall impression in terms of leadership studies. While the quality of the book is sterling in almost every respect, from the vantage point of leadership it comes across scattered. Having four main characters means that no one individual gets the depth of attention warranted for truly rich leadership engagement. It does not help that Goodwin’s four main leaders are spread over 150 years of American history. Since context is so vital for understanding both the BOOK REVIEWS