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Lincoln author gets a hats-off

April 08, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian whose bestsellers include "No Ordinary Time" and "Wait Till Next Year," received a standing ovation from a roomful of Abraham Lincoln experts, the kind of people who usually look suspiciously on popular authors.

Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," her acclaimed biography of Lincoln and the former political foes who became members of his Cabinet, was this year's winner of the Lincoln Prize for an outstanding work about the president and/or the Civil War.

The award, which includes a $50,000 check and a bronze bust of a somber, reflective Lincoln, was presented Thursday night to Goodwin at the century-old Union League Club.

In attendance were some of the world's leading Lincoln authorities, including Michael Burlingame, Harold Holzer and Gabor Boritt.

"The fact that the people who give this award are so immersed in Lincoln is very important to me," Goodwin told a reporter.

The Lincoln Prize, given to works intended for "the literate general public," was co-founded in 1990 by philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman.

Goodwin has long enjoyed a large readership, but before the Lincoln book her scholarship had been strongly questioned after she acknowledged that a previous work, "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys," contained extensive material closely resembling the writings of another author.

No such criticism has been made about "Team of Rivals," which has sold more than 500,000 copies.

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