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Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero [Kindle Edition]

Chris Matthews
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (384 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $12.99
You Save: $4.00 (24%)
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

  • File Size: 26812 KB
  • Print Length: 498 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004T4KQOS
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,563 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
413 of 475 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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81 of 98 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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195 of 241 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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60 of 74 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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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Can't believe this is from Simon & Schuster! November 15, 2012
There's little I can add to the negative reviews of Elusive Hero. That's really quite validating since this is one of the worst books I've ever read, and I LIKE Chris Matthews. The best part of the book was his autobiographical introductory chapter, which I really did sarcasm intended here. I was so disappointed in what followed and I can't believe Simon & Schuster would actually publish such a terribly written and poorly edited book. I even wondered if anyone had proof-read it or if nobody had the heart to tell Chris that it was simply NOT GOOD. I'm certainly not an avid reader but when it comes to books, I try to finish what I start. This one has been a struggle and I still have 100 pages to go! I find myself exasperated at all the names and quotes of people who don't even seem interesting enough to remember from one chapter to the next.

One thing I will say which I haven't seen stated in these reviews is that I come away feeling that JFK was a conniving and cunning opportunist, stabbing many people in the back, playing both political parties for all he gain, all for the sake of his political advancement. In spite of all the stories I've read about JFK's flawed character, I've always admired him. This book draws all of that in question. Even though it reads like a valentine to a legendary politician, Elusive Hero actually presents quite an unflattering and even disturbing portrait of JFK.
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124 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reminds me why I loved JFK November 1, 2011
By Tosca
In 1960 I was in the 11th grade and very caught up in the Kennedy vs Nixon campaign. Thanks to my dad's involvement in local democratic politics I was given the opportunity to become what was known as a "Kennedy Girl". We dressed up in red white and blue and attended political functions to promote JFK. One of my most thrilling memories is getting to shake Kennedy's hand at Selfridge AFB in Michigan. Thankfully there was a local newspaper photographer on hand to capture me and several other Kennedy Girls with JFK and Gov. G. Mennen "Soapy" Williams, providing me with a wonderful memento of the occasion.

I've read so many different books on Kennedy over the years and my first thought was "not another book on JFK, please". After reading the review I thought maybe this one might be worth the effort.
Way to go Chris Matthews!
This book told me so much about him that I didn't know and reminded me of things I had forgotten.
I'm so glad decided to read "yet another book on JFK".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book on JFK
Great book on JFK. Excellent read. It is a love story from Chris Matthews to the world about our young, caring, man who became our President and died too soon. Read more
Published 17 hours ago by Patricia Capilo
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Balanced.
Excellent. Balanced coverage. Reasons to both admire the man and to detest him.
Published 10 days ago by donald zeiger
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My wife loved this book. It was a gift for her.
Published 13 days ago by golf67
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good book on the life of JFK.
Published 26 days ago by Allan E. Lange
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 1 month ago by darlena harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
well done, personal, thoughtful.
Published 2 months ago by Lauralyn B. Cannistra
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book about a hero and great president.
Published 2 months ago by Ralph C Huff
5.0 out of 5 stars Chris Mattthews introduces a Jack Kennedy we never knew
Through stories and memories from the men and women who really knew him, the real John F. Kennedy comes alive through Chris Matthews eloquent prose. Read more
Published 2 months ago by T. J. Rowan
3.0 out of 5 stars Fans of Chris Matthews Will Like This One
I read this book because of the author. I wanted to know the Matthews perspective both from his political and personal perspective. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ron K
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just started reading "Believer" and like it so far!
Published 3 months ago by Richard L. Emler
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