The Kennedy Half-Century by Larry J. Sabato
The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy

75%

8 Critic Reviews

The final third of Sabato’s book traces the influence of Kennedy on his presidential successors to round out a timely, well-documented, and measured view of our 35th president.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

An original and illuminating narrative revealing John F. Kennedy's lasting influence on America, by the acclaimed political analyst Larry J. Sabato.

John F. Kennedy died almost half a century ago-yet because of his extraordinary promise and untimely death, his star still resonates strongly. On the anniversary of his assassination, celebrated political scientist and analyst Larry J. Sabato-himself a teenager in the early 1960s and inspired by JFK and his presidency-explores the fascinating and powerful influence he has had over five decades on the media, the general public, and especially on each of his nine presidential successors.

A recent Gallup poll gave JFK the highest job approval rating of any of those successors, and millions remain captivated by his one thousand days in the White House. For all of them, and for those who feel he would not be judged so highly if he hadn't died tragically in office, The Kennedy Half-Century will be particularly revealing. Sabato reexamines JFK's assassination using heretofore unseen information to which he has had unique access, then documents the extraordinary effect the assassination has had on Americans of every modern generation through the most extensive survey ever undertaken on the public's view of a historical figure. The full and fascinating results, gathered by the accomplished pollsters Peter Hart and Geoff Garin, paint a compelling portrait of the country a half-century after the epochal killing. Just as significantly, Sabato shows how JFK's presidency has strongly influenced the policies and decisions-often in surprising ways-of every president since.

Among the hundreds of books devoted to JFK, The Kennedy Half-Century stands apart for its rich insight and original perspective. Anyone who reads it will appreciate in new ways the profound impact JFK's short presidency has had on our national psyche.
 

About Larry J. Sabato

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Larry J. Sabato is the founder and director of the renowned Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. He has appeared on dozens of national television and radio programs, including 60 Minutes, Today, Hardball, and Nightline. He has authored or edited more than a dozen books on American politics, including the highly praised A More Perfect Constitution—Why the Constitution Must Be Revised: Ideas to Inspire a New Generation. His other books include Feeding Frenzy, about press coverage of politicians; The Rise of Political Consultants; and Barack Obama and the New America. Sabato runs the Crystal Ball website, which has the most comprehensive and accurate record of election analysis in the country. In 2001, the University of Virginia gave him its highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
 
Published October 15, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA. 621 pages
Genres: History, Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Nov 03 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Kennedy Half-Century
All: 8 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Sep 16 2013

Kennedy served at a time of considerable danger to any president, with a roiling civil rights crisis, religious prejudice, a fraught international climate and “a shockingly casual approach to presidential security.” Provocative reading for this semicentennial year.

Read Full Review of The Kennedy Half-Century: The... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Sep 09 2013

The final third of Sabato’s book traces the influence of Kennedy on his presidential successors to round out a timely, well-documented, and measured view of our 35th president.

Read Full Review of The Kennedy Half-Century: The... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Irenesroth on Dec 04 2013

Sabato’s book is a must-read for all politically-minded historians. The book will give the reader a new appreciation for the profound impact JFK had on us.

Read Full Review of The Kennedy Half-Century: The... | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by pfaulhaber on Nov 25 2013

This is a good read. It provides a view of a president that shows a man who clearly loved and believed in his country, which is so different from what is happening in the country today.

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The Washington Post

Below average
on Oct 25 2013

Sabato chalks up the lasting Kennedy mystique to a combination of “powerful optics” and “genuine inspiration.” Those explanations are sound, as far as they go, but not sufficient. To dig deeper, Sabato might have spent more time, ironically, on the assassination...

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Huntington News

Good
Reviewed by David Kinchen on Oct 26 2013

Sabato's "The Kennedy Half-Century" will appeal to history buffs and political junkies alike. There probably will never be a satisfactory answer to who did what on Nov. 23, 1963, but Sabato's book will answer many questions -- as well as raise many more.

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History Book Club

Good
Reviewed by Goeffrey Wawro on Feb 04 2014

Sabato’s eye-opening book is a must read. It makes thought-provoking connections, and educates deeply about American politics.

Read Full Review of The Kennedy Half-Century: The...

David Kinchen

Good
Reviewed by David Kinchen on Oct 26 2013

Sabato’s “The Kennedy Half-Century” will appeal to history buffs and political junkies alike. There probably will never be a satisfactory answer to who did what on Nov. 23, 1963, but Sabato’s book will answer many questions — as well as raise many more.

Read Full Review of The Kennedy Half-Century: The...

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