Start reading Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero [Kindle Edition]

Chris Matthews
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (347 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $11.02
You Save: $5.97 (35%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Whispersync for Voice

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $9.95 after you buy the Kindle book. Learn More


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $11.02  
Hardcover $18.84  
Paperback $12.74  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged $26.63  
Unknown Binding --  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $20.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial

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: 4701 KB
  • Print Length: 498 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1451635095
  • 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:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,754 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
403 of 464 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"
Was this review helpful to you?
193 of 238 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.
Was this review helpful to you?
76 of 93 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.
Was this review helpful to you?
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.
Was this review helpful to you?
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.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
It was a great book to read, This books tells the true life of JFK by someone who knew him. I loved to read about the back door politics and a time when congress worked together... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Patricia Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars he loved it, I've been told
this was given as a gift...he loved it, I've been told..
Published 18 days ago by KARYL MAXWELL
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very well written and interesting biography of John F. Kennedy. Well worth the time and money.
Published 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
Received this book as a gift, a great read about one of the true Legends of our time, and one of the greatest leaders, JFK. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Joshua W
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is one of the best books on JFK and one of my favourites.
Published 22 days ago by Miss Anne Quealy
2.0 out of 5 stars Readable but superficial
As someone who remembers (barely) the Nixon-Kennedy debates on TV, the discussions over Kennedy's religion, and more vividly his assassination, I was looking for more insight from... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Loves to Knit
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
great audio book
Published 1 month ago by CYNTHIA FORBES
4.0 out of 5 stars Not What You Would Expect
To begin the review, I'm a political science and history enthusiast with a special interest in foreign relations and the Cold War, with Kennedy at the forefront of my passion. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Brad
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD INSIGHTS
Interesting but history runs slow at times.
Published 2 months ago by Michele Hearns
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
never closed it once started.
Published 2 months ago by Leanne
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category