JFK's Last Hundred Days by Thurston Clarke
The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence of a Great President

74%

5 Critic Reviews

Mr Clarke is a good storyteller, and his account...offers an enjoyable snapshot of the day-to-day workings of the presidency. One moment sees Kennedy holding a meeting on poverty in Kentucky; the next finds him romping with his children, Caroline and John.
-The Economist

Synopsis

A Kirkus Best Book of 2013

A revelatory, minute-by-minute account of JFK’s last hundred days that asks what might have been

Fifty years after his death, President John F. Kennedy’s legend endures. Noted author and historian Thurston Clarke argues that the heart of that legend is what might have been. As we approach the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, JFK’s Last Hundred Days reexamines the last months of the president’s life to show a man in the midst of great change, finally on the cusp of making good on his extraordinary promise.

Kennedy’s last hundred days began just after the death of two-day-old Patrick Kennedy, and during this time, the president made strides in the Cold War, civil rights, Vietnam, and his personal life. While Jackie was recuperating, the premature infant and his father were flown to Boston for Patrick’s treatment. Kennedy was holding his son’s hand when Patrick died on August 9, 1963. The loss of his son convinced Kennedy to work harder as a husband and father, and there is ample evidence that he suspended his notorious philandering during these last months of his life.

Also in these months Kennedy finally came to view civil rights as a moral as well as a political issue, and after the March on Washington, he appreciated the power of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., for the first time.

Though he is often depicted as a devout cold warrior, Kennedy pushed through his proudest legislative achievement in this period, the Limited Test Ban Treaty. This success, combined with his warming relations with Nikita Khrushchev in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis, led to a détente that British foreign secretary Sir Alec Douglas- Home hailed as the “beginning of the end of the Cold War.”

Throughout his presidency, Kennedy challenged demands from his advisers and the Pentagon to escalate America’s involvement in Vietnam. Kennedy began a reappraisal in the last hundred days that would have led to the withdrawal of all sixteen thousand U.S. military
advisers by 1965.

JFK’s Last Hundred Days is a gripping account that weaves together Kennedy’s public and private lives, explains why the grief following his assassination has endured so long, and solves the most tantalizing Kennedy mystery of all—not who killed him but who he was when he was killed, and where he would have led us.
 

About Thurston Clarke

See more books from this Author
Thurston Clarke has written eleven widely acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, including three New York Times Notable Books. His Pearl Harbor Ghosts was the basis of a CBS documentary, and his bestselling Lost Hero, a biography of Raoul Wallenberg, was made into an award-winning NBC miniseries. His articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other publications. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and other awards and lives with his wife and three daughters in upstate New York.
 
Published July 16, 2013 by Penguin Books. 449 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for JFK's Last Hundred Days
All: 5 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Aug 12 2013

Such efforts by Mr. Clarke to inflate Kennedy’s achievements distract from his actual accomplishments and influence, and they also make this intermittently interesting volume feel like a sentimental work of hagiography.

Read Full Review of JFK's Last Hundred Days: The ... | See more reviews from NY Times

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jun 08 2013

This detailed, mostly worshipful account will not convince everyone, but few will put it down.

Read Full Review of JFK's Last Hundred Days: The ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Jurek Martin on Jul 19 2013

Perhaps most poignant are JFK’s private reflections on his own mortality, and the many warnings he received not to go to Texas on that fateful trip.

Read Full Review of JFK's Last Hundred Days: The ... | See more reviews from Financial Times

Washington Times

Above average
Reviewed by John R. Coyne Jr. on Sep 01 2013

Mr. Clarke’s method is chronological, with selective quotes, snippets and gossip from published and unpublished works (...) and a great deal of hypothesizing, all held together within a loosely constructed narrative and authenticated with an odd and somewhat hard-to-use system of citations.

Read Full Review of JFK's Last Hundred Days: The ... | See more reviews from Washington Times

The Economist

Above average
on Jul 27 2013

Mr Clarke is a good storyteller, and his account...offers an enjoyable snapshot of the day-to-day workings of the presidency. One moment sees Kennedy holding a meeting on poverty in Kentucky; the next finds him romping with his children, Caroline and John.

Read Full Review of JFK's Last Hundred Days: The ... | See more reviews from The Economist

Reader Rating for JFK's Last Hundred Days
83%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 129 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×