Jack 1939 by Francine Mathews

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Synopsis

In "one of the most deliciously high-concept thrillers imaginable" (The New Yorker) a young JFK travels to Europe on a secret mission for President Roosevelt

It’s the spring of 1939, and the prospect of war in Europe looms large. The United States has no intelligence service. In Washington, D.C., President Franklin Roosevelt may run for an unprecedented third term and needs someone he can trust to find out what the Nazis are up to. His choice: John F. Kennedy.

It’s a surprising selection. At twenty-two, Jack Kennedy is the attractive but unpromising second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Roosevelt’s ambassador to Britain (and occasional political adversary). But when Jack decides to travel through Europe to gather research for his Harvard senior thesis, Roosevelt takes the opportunity to use him as his personal spy. The president’s goal: to stop the flow of German money that has been flooding the United States to buy the 1940 election—an election that Adolf Hitler intends Roosevelt lose.

In a deft mosaic of fact and fiction, Francine Mathews has written a gripping espionage tale that explores what might have happened when a young Jack Kennedy is let loose in Europe as the world careens toward war. A potent combination of history and storytelling, Jack 1939 is a sexy, entertaining read.
 

About Francine Mathews

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FRANCINE MATHEWS is the author of more than twenty novels of mystery, history, and suspense. Her historical thriller The Alibi Club was named one of the fifteen best novels of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. A graduate of Princeton and Stanford, she spent four years as an intelligence analyst at the CIA and presently lives and works in Colorado.
 
Published July 5, 2012 by Riverhead. 365 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Jack 1939

Kirkus Reviews

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Jack is 21, overshadowed by older brother Joe and racked by an undiagnosed disease, but Roosevelt sees past all that because he intuits that Jack is a nonconformist and risk-taker.

Jul 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

Publishers Weekly

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FDR wants Jack, who’s about to travel through Europe to research his senior thesis, to stop a courier bringing German money to America, part of Hitler’s plan to defeat FDR in the 1940 election.

Apr 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

BookPage

Mathews, who’s had spy training and investigative experience as a CIA intelligence analyst, has effectively combined her knowledge of the politics and personalities of that era with a slam-bang plot of espionage and drama.

Jul 05 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

Open Letters Monthly

Kennedy, is the United States ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, is actually an intelligence operative working on secret instructions from President Franklin Roosevelt – the conceit of Francine Mathews’ new novel, Jack 1939 should make it callous (the man’s real life wasn’t interesting enoug...

Mar 05 2013 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

Oregon Live

Flanagan points out in her essay how David Letterman had iconic photographs of Kennedy ready when Caroline Kennedy went on his show.

Jul 28 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

Denver Post

Will novelists some day make up sexual encounters for Barack Obama or George Bush?) As the plot thickens, Kennedy discovers that his own father, Joseph Kennedy, ambassador to England, is one of those funding the anti-Roosevelt campaign.

Jul 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

City Book Review

But when President Roosevelt recruits Jack to be his eyes and ears in Europe during the Nazi Party’s rise to power, knowing that Jack’s illness makes him an unlikely agent, Jack accepts.

Sep 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

Watermark Books And Cafe

I mention these facts only because it is no small undertaking to make Jack Kennedy the believable protagonist of an espionage novel, but this is what she has done in “Jack 1939.” Those who are familiar with Joseph Persico’s nonfiction book, “Roosevelt’s Secret War,” will remember that FDR, as th...

| Read Full Review of Jack 1939

Portland Book Review

Wilson Pulitzer Prize-Winning Biologist Author of On Human Nature Sat 11 Tix are available at etix.com Sun7:30 @Powells the first collection of short fiction from Jess Walter, is a suite of diverse, often comic stories wp.me/P2DwkQ-bv0 Saturday the 2nd, 10am / Powell’s City of Books ...

Sep 07 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

BlogHer

BlogHer - I may be quiet for a bit because I seem to have stumbled butt-first into a FULL TIME JOB!

Jan 09 2013 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

Bookmarks Magazine

The president’s goal: to stop the flow of German money that has been flooding the United States to buy the 1940 election—an election that Adolf Hitler intends Roosevelt lose.

In a deft mosaic of fact and fiction, Francine Mathews has written a gripping espionage tale that explores what mig...

Jul 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

Vibrant Nation

Francine Mathews’ Jack 1939 is so realistic that it’s not hard to believe that Jack Kennedy could have been on a special assignment in that year preceding the war.

Jul 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

The Big Thrill

You are here: Home » Espionage Thrillers » Jack 1939 by Francine Mathews.

Jun 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

Salty Eggs

Soon he’s aboard the ship that Jack is taking to England, and it doesn’t take Jack long to realize he’s in some serious danger.

Jul 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack 1939

Reader Rating for Jack 1939
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