John F. Kennedy by Alan Brinkley, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. & Sean Wilentz

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For those on both sides of the Kennedy debate, this quick read offers a wonderful primer on a man who, as Brinkley puts it, "remains, deserved or not, such an important figure in our national imagination."
-Creative Loafing

Synopsis

The young president who brought vigor and glamour to the White House while he confronted cold war crises abroad and calls for social change at home

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a new kind of president. He redefined how Americans came to see the nation's chief executive. He was forty-three when he was inaugurated in 1961—the youngest man ever elected to the office—and he personified what he called the "New Frontier" as the United States entered the 1960s.

But as Alan Brinkley shows in this incisive and lively assessment, the reality of Kennedy's achievements was much more complex than the legend. His brief presidency encountered significant failures—among them the Bay of Pigs fiasco, which cast its shadow on nearly every national-security decision that followed. But Kennedy also had successes, among them the Cuban Missile Crisis and his belated but powerful stand against segregation.

Kennedy seemed to live on a knife's edge, moving from one crisis to another—Cuba, Laos, Berlin, Vietnam, Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. His controversial public life mirrored his hidden private life. He took risks that would seem reckless and even foolhardy when they emerged from secrecy years later.

Kennedy's life, and his violent and sudden death, reshaped our view of the presidency. Brinkley gives us a full picture of the man, his times, and his enduring legacy.

 

About Alan Brinkley, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. & Sean Wilentz

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Alan Brinkley is the Allan Nevins Professor of American History at Columbia University. His previous books include Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression, which won the National Book Award for History, and The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People. His essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in The American Historical Review, the Journal of American History, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic, and other publications. He lives in New York City.
 
Published May 8, 2012 by Times Books. 224 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Children's Books. Non-fiction
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Creative Loafing

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Reviewed by Erik Spanberg on Jul 24 2012

For those on both sides of the Kennedy debate, this quick read offers a wonderful primer on a man who, as Brinkley puts it, "remains, deserved or not, such an important figure in our national imagination."

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Crystal Greer

Crystal Greer 5 Sep 2013

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