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The Bully Pulpit

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Her 1995 Pulitzer prize-winning book, “No Ordinary Time,” examined the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt through the lens of his relationship with his wife, Eleanor, and others in his inner circle.

Then came an unexpected obstacle, followed by a triumphant return. Not for FDR, but for Goodwin herself.

Questions raised in 2002 and 2003 about “borrowed material” in two of her books left Goodwin on the defensive regarding the use of passages from other works in what Bo Crader of The Weekly Standard and Slate’s Timothy Noah made clear was more than a one-time, inadvertent mistake. Much of the furor focused on Goodwin's 1987 best-seller "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys."

In addition, while she credited earlier works in "No Ordinary Time," Noah demonstrated, with authority, the lack of quotation marks for extensive passages in the book nearly identical to the referenced sources. In other words, Goodwin had plagiarized.

All of which made her highly scrutinized return in 2005 all the more remarkable. “Team of Rivals,” Goodwin’s account of President Lincoln and his fractious cabinet, not only put a fresh spin on assessing the most-analyzed president in American history, but was judged to be both rigorous and accurate.

“Team of Rivals” enjoyed an extended run that benefited from rave reviews, an endorsement by a young Illinois senator embarking on a long-shot presidential bid in 2007 (you may now know him simply as 44), and finally, last year, the Steven Spielberg movie "Lincoln." Day-Lewis went on to win an Oscar for his portrayal of the 16th president. 

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