"What was he like?""" Jack Kennedy said the reason people read biography is to answer that basic question. What was he like, this man whose own wife called him "that elusive, unforgettable man?" In this "New York Times "bestselling biography, Chris Matthews answers that question with the verve of a novelist. We see this most beloved president in ...Read More"What was he like?""" Jack Kennedy said the reason people read biography is to answer that basic question. What was he like, this man whose own wife called him "that elusive, unforgettable man?" In this "New York Times "bestselling biography, Chris Matthews answers that question with the verve of a novelist. We see this most beloved president in the company of friends. We see and feel him close-up, having fun and giving off that restlessness of his. We watch him navigate his life from privileged, rebellious youth to gutsy American president. We witness his bravery in war and selfless rescue of his PT boat crew. We watch JFK as a young politician learning to play hardball and watch him grow into the leader who averts a nuclear war. Matthews's extraordinary biography is based on personal interviews with those closest to JFK, oral histories by top political aide Kenneth O'Donnell and others, documents from his years as a student at Choate, and notes from Jacqueline Kennedy's first interview after Dallas. As Matthews writes: "I found a fighting prince never free of pain, never far from trouble, never accepting the world he found, never wanting to be his father's son. He was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know."Read Less
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This is a really good book with lots of personal details about Kennedy the man. It's a quick and enjoyable read that, if you liked JFK, will make you miss him all over again. Not overly critical of the political side but honest about the personal side of the man.
Apr 5, 2012
Very well written in both content and style - easy to read and informative; takes the reader back to JFK's time and provides details and context.
Publishers Weekly, 2011-08-22 Out of his gut interest in politics and love of reading biographies of American heroes, Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, probes the details of the 35th president's life and career to find out what Jack was like. He begins this book wanting to discover how Kennedy became the leader who, at a moment of national fear and anger (the Cuban missile crisis), could cut so coldly and clearly to the truth. Drawing on interviews with friends and former staffers, as well as on such familiar biographical incidents as Kennedy's rescue of the PT-109 crew and his resulting back injury, Matthews reveals a man who through inner direction and tenacious will created himself out of the loneliness and illness of his youth and who taught himself the hard discipline of politics through his own triumphs and failures. For example, from the Bay of Pigs-considered one of Kennedy's failures-JFK learned that there must be both clarity and completion when the stakes are highest and most desperate; know your enemy and your goal; and hold fast to what you're attempting. With this resolve, Kennedy reacted to Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis with a detachment that resisted the easy path of war that others recommended. Matthews's stirring biography reveals Kennedy as a "fighting prince never free from pain, never far from trouble, and never accepting the world he found." Photos. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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