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Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero [Kindle Edition]

Chris Matthews
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (330 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $7.00 (41%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

“What was he like?”

Jack Kennedy said the reason people read biography is to answer that basic question. What was he like, this man whose own wife called him “that elusive, unforgettable man?” In this New York Times bestselling biography, Chris Matthews answers that question with the verve of a novelist. We see this most beloved president in the company of friends. We see and feel him close-up, having fun and giving off that restlessness of his. We watch him navigate his life from privileged, rebellious youth to gutsy American president. We witness his bravery in war and selfless rescue of his PT boat crew. We watch JFK as a young politician learning to play hardball and watch him grow into the leader who averts a nuclear war. Matthews’s extraordinary biography is based on personal interviews with those closest to JFK, oral histories by top political aide Kenneth O’Donnell and others, documents from his years as a student at Choate, and notes from Jacqueline Kennedy’s first interview after Dallas. As Matthews writes: “I found a fighting prince never free of pain, never far from trouble, never accepting the world he found, never wanting to be his father’s son. He was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know.”

Editorial Reviews


“If history at its best is about telling storiesthat bring the past to life, then Chris Matthews is a master storyteller, forthis fascinating portrait brings Jack Kennedy more vividly to life than anyrecent work.—Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals


“If history at its best is about telling storiesthat bring the past to life, then Chris Matthews is a master storyteller, forthis fascinating portrait brings Jack Kennedy more vividly to life than anyrecent work.—Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
399 of 460 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A ONCE-OVER-Lightly effort. November 3, 2011
This might be a worthwhile book for readers who know very little about President Kennedy and his times. For reasonably well-informed students of that era, however, there is very little that is new here.
This may sound like nit-picking, but the book has some annoying errors that a more careful writer and/or editor would have avoided. Matthews calls the President's younger brother Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy. His actual name was Robert Francis Kennedy. He says Senator Joe McCarthy died in 1956, when it was actually May, 1957. He also says JFK was chosen as America's 34th President, when almost everybody knows he was the 35th.
Errors like these make a reader wonder what else Matthews might have gotten wrong.
If you want an authoritative treatment of JFK, I recommend Robert Dallek's "John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life"
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191 of 236 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JFK - American Hero November 1, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First of all, let me say that this is a well written and passionate account of Jack Kennedy the man - an American President who deserves the accolade of "Hero." Chris Matthews' conversational approach to the story, really draws you in, as though you are sittng across from him in your den having a single malt scotch. His narrative never fails to fascinate. In the end, the reader understands, that more than any other 20th Century figure, Jack Kennedy made the decisions that allowed future generations to be born, and our world to continue. A very fine book indeed.
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75 of 92 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MEDIOCRITY PASSING FOR HISTORY November 15, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is my first ever review of a book on Amazon. I am a huge Kennedy reader and have read probably every biography out on both Jack and Bobby for the last 15 plus years. I am also a fan of Chris Matthews who always has an interesting perspective especially on the political spectrum. His book is quite the let-down. It is nothing more than a breezy memoir (even though he did not know Kennedy) which could have been written by any of Jack's close circle of friends. The book has some nice tidbits but it has all been covered before and even though Matthews has a thesis which is nothing more than (1) Kennedy compartmentalized his life and the people around him so no one got the full picture of the man, (2) he was incredibly loyal to his life-long friends who he relied on his whole life and in particular when he got the White House, and (3) Kennedy's thinking and views developed and grew as he went from being the millionaire playboy son to being a congressman to senator to President. While anyone would agree with all of some of these thoughts nothing is new here. If you really want to learn about JFK then go to Dallek's excellent biography called "An Unfinished Life." I think this book is good for the young (13 plus) budding historian as an introduction to JFK in an easy to ready, not too dense format and highlights the important milestones. In that case, it could whet the appetite of the young reader and give him/her the impetus to read the more serious and detailed books on JFK.
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58 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kindle formatting November 23, 2011
By Sandra
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you're thinking of buying the Kindle eBook, maybe think twice. I'm reading it, and enjoying the easy story telling style. But the Kindle format is annoying. Every page has random underlining that makes no sense for being there. There are family photos and scanned documents, hand written by JFK that are too small to read. I would love to know what he wrote. Customer service told me there's was nothing I could do to enlarge it.
Update: I returned it for refund. Too expensive to be like this. I'll either get it in a hard copy or skip it.
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46 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a Bad Book - A Good Introduction To Kennedy's Life November 7, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero to be a fair read, and definitely not a bad book. I didn't find it very compelling, but I can see how it would be interesting, informational, and insightful for those who are just starting to learn more about Kennedy. It would be the perfect primer before a leap to something more significant/in-depth, perhaps for a student or someone who does not have much experience reading about Kennedy. There are many insightful stories and tidbits in the book, and it is certainly easy to read, not "textbook-y".

Those who are knowledgeable about Kennedy's life will definitely not find anything groundbreaking in "Elusive Hero", although there may be a little story or two that are new. I didn't notice any information that was "unearthed" or uncovered by Mr. Matthews, and the few insights that did seem new (to me) were not all that important in comparison to Kennedy's life as a whole, and definitely not groundbreaking. The portion of the book devoted to Kennedy's line "Ask what you can do for your country" is not new information, as some may have been led to believe; the origins of this phrase (at Choate) have been discussed in other biographies before this one.

You can tell that Chris Matthews reveres and adores Kennedy - so much that it began to come across as almost too strong to me. It makes sense, and should not be unexpected, since Matthews labels Kennedy as a hero not only in the title of the book, but in the preface on page 3 ("...a figure we would come to know so well, one who would soon mean so much to us, to me.") and on page 11 ("He was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know.").

I found that certain parts of Kennedy's life seemed left out of much of the picture, or barely discussed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars History recalled accurately.
This was a well researched book by a professional who obviously loves Kennedy. That said, I found it revealing and a most interesting read. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
I would recommend this book if you're interested in JFK. A little long winded in some parts but anyone who's familiar with Chris Matthews wouldn't be surprised at this. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Archie Borders
4.0 out of 5 stars Jack Kennedy Book purchased as a gift
I don't feel like I am qualified to write a review as such. This was a (requested) birthday gift and was most appreciated.
Published 11 days ago by kim Vawter
5.0 out of 5 stars Learned some stuff
Really enjoyed this. Chris Matthews gives a good insight into the background behind the Kennedy dynasty and the turning wheels. You won't be disappointed.
Published 14 days ago by Margaret Railey
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Look at JFK
I was a junior in high school in November, 1963, when there was almost a whisper campaign that someone who'd been listening to a transistor radio started. Read more
Published 15 days ago by CathiD
5.0 out of 5 stars Great bok.
Enlightening and, inspiring about American history and an American young president, who dared to make a difference about his own people and the world. Read more
Published 17 days ago by iris brum-howe
5.0 out of 5 stars I salute you Mr. Matthews
Great book into the insight of a great man. Could hardly put it down. Learned many things I never knew.
Published 19 days ago by Harry
5.0 out of 5 stars Never gotten over it
there is an entire generation of People who will never get over it--President Kennedy's assassination-- those of us in Catholic high schools at that time in the 60s who found a... Read more
Published 24 days ago by Elaine Bennington
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Written and Lacks Insight
I was looking forward to this book as I hoped to gain further insight into Jack Kennedy. However, this book is very poorly written, so much so that I couldn't finish it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rohan Shankar
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book
It was a very interesting book. I remember those years very well & liked reading about them & learning new info too.
Published 2 months ago by marilyn garrett
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