You might expect a celebrated historian like Doris Kearns Goodwin to be somewhat serious and high-minded. We’re pleased to report that the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Lyndon Johnson and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt is anything but. That’s why she’s able to laugh at the author’s note in Ron Burgundy’s new faux memoir, “Let Me Off at the Top!” In the note, Will Ferrell’s alter ego in “Anchorman 2” gives Goodwin (above) a hilarious shout-out.
“It took me eight years to write this book. The research alone — fact-checking, reading the source materials, asking questions — was endless and I didn’t care for it that much. I consulted with my dear friend and lover Doris Kearns Goodwin over many breakfasts in bed. Her sharp intellect and sharper teeth found their way into practically every page. Although we are no longer lovers because I don’t know why, her knowledge of presidential history is the basis for Chapter 12. Her dogged enthusiasm for the project was only outpaced by her enthusiasm for lovemaking, which I could barely equal. I don’t know what to say about Doris really except if she’s still out there and she would like another bounce, I would be game.”
The other day, we phoned Goodwin, who’s 70 and lives in Concord, to ask if she’s ever even met Ron Burgundy. “No, but now I’m really looking forward to seeing him,” she said, laughing. And what does Dick Goodwin, her husband of 38 years, think of it? “He thinks it’s funny. Honestly, if you can’t laugh at something like this, there’s something wrong with you.”
And with that, Goodwin was off on her tour promoting her latest book, “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism,” which critics are lauding. Asked if she reads reviews, Goodwin could not tell a lie. “Sure, I do,” she said. “When you’ve spent so much time on something and reviewers appreciate and understand what you’re trying to do, it’s gratifying. You might say you don’t care what they say, but of course you do.”