Fifty years after John F. Kennedy's death, we find ourselves enmeshed in an era of political division and cynicism, where politicians talk past one another and the spirit of "Ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country" is less visible than it should be. We seem to have forgotten that we're all on the same team. ...
Fifty years after John F. Kennedy's death, we find ourselves enmeshed in an era of political division and cynicism, where politicians talk past one another and the spirit of "Ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country" is less visible than it should be. We seem to have forgotten that we're all on the same team. Fortunately, Scott D. Reich has given us The Power of Citizenship, a timely book to bring us back on track. Reich asserts that the most powerful element of Kennedy's legacy is his emphasis on the theme of citizenship, and that a rededication to the values Kennedy promoted will shine a bright path forward for our country. Evoking the hopes and aspirations of the 1960s, Reich recaptures the excitement of the Kennedy era. But what truly sets this book apart is the unique way it blends the romance of Camelot with the new frontiers of today-not only identifying modern challenges, but also offering a tangible blueprint for how we can improve our public discourse, be good citizens, and lift our nation to new heights of greatness. Part history and part call to action, The Power of Citizenship hones in on the very essence of what made JFK so inspirational and timeless, reminding us once again that we must ask what we can do for our country. This is a must-read for Americans of all generations.
Publishers Weekly, 2013-07-22 Attorney and activist Reich analyzes the "ethics of service and sacrifice" in J.F.K.'s writings, speeches, and foreign and domestic policies, beginning with his famous inaugural address: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." According to Reich, Kennedy's ideals can be traced to classical thinkers such as Pericles. The author shows how the president himself acted with integrity and courage, as when he took sole responsibility for the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. Unfortunately, in assessing J.F.K.'s policies, Reich occasionally shoehorns in elements that have little relationship to his theme, such as the Alliance for Progress, a Cold War-era aid program for Latin American countries. While the Alliance was an important initiative, it hardly mobilized a significant number of citizens. The last chapter, "Embracing Our Citizenship," proves to be the weakest, containing a number of vague calls for an activist citizenry and obvious statements such as, "If you want to be a volunteer, seek out opportunities that need people to give their time and energy." Though Reich provides an informative overview of the Kennedy administration's idealism from a citizenship perspective, he too often does so in an uninspired way. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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