JFK and the Masculine Mystique by Steven Watts
Sex and Power on the New Frontier

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A fresh perspective on a president whose style, legacy, and politics continue to inspire discussions about freedom and leadership values.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A fresh look at the legacy of JFK, placing him at the center of a shift in the cultural ideal of the American male, from domesticated breadwinner to elegant, virile adventurer. From very early on in his career, John F. Kennedy’s allure was more akin to a movie star than a presidential candidate. Why were Americans so attracted to Kennedy in the late 1950s and early 1960s—his glamorous image, good looks, cool style, tough-minded rhetoric, and sex appeal? As Steve Watts argues, JFK was tailor made for the cultural atmosphere of his time. He benefited from a crisis of manhood that had welled up in postwar America when men had become ensnared by bureaucracy, softened by suburban comfort, and emasculated by a generation of newly-aggressive women. Kennedy appeared to revive the modern American man as youthful and vigorous, masculine and athletic, and a sexual conquistador. His cultural crusade involved other prominent figures, including Frank Sinatra, Norman Mailer, Ian Fleming, Hugh Hefner, Ben Bradlee, Kirk Douglas, and Tony Curtis, who collectively symbolized masculine regeneration. This is not just another standard biography of the youthful president. By examining Kennedy in the context of certain books, movies, social critiques, music, and cultural discussions that framed his ascendancy, Watts shows us the excitement and sense of possibility, the optimism and aspirations, that accompanied the dawn of a new age in America.
 

About Steven Watts

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STEVEN WATTS is an award-winning professor of history at the University of Missouri. He has been a consultant and on-screen expert for several documentaries appearing on PBS, the History Channel, NBC, CNBC, CBS, Bloomberg News, and Fox.
 
Published November 8, 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books. 432 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Kirkus

Above average
on Sep 22 2016

A fresh perspective on a president whose style, legacy, and politics continue to inspire discussions about freedom and leadership values.

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