From Publishers Weekly
After Lincoln, John F. Kennedy is generally acknowledged as our most eloquent president. The words of such major speeches as his inaugural and his remarks at the Berlin Wall resonate still in the minds of Americans. But as this book and CD illustrate, Kennedy was equally articulate on a host of other occasions, including campaign debates with Richard Nixon, White House press conferences, commencement addresses and comments on such topics as the integration of the University of Mississippi and the Cuban missile crisis. Of course, a large part of JFK's communicative excellence lay in his smart, confident delivery. Thus bestselling Kennedy biographer Dallek and Golway (The Irish in America
) present the speeches on a CD featuring Kennedy's own voice, while their book sets each of the CD's 32 tracks in historical context. The speeches and commentary trace JFK's presidential career from the 1960 campaign through his death. Painstakingly, the authors lay out the parameters of real politics that lay behind particular phrases and positions. In the end, the reader/listener is even more impressed with JFK after learning the backgrounds and contexts and then hearing Kennedy so lucidly express the words. (Apr.)
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*Starred Review* The voice of John F. Kennedy is burned into the brains of people of a certain age. But younger citizens may not be familiar with his ideas and the distinctive way in which he expressed himself. There have been past recordings of JFK's presidential speeches, but this unique package pairs a CD of the speeches with a collection of essays on them by historians Golway and Dallek (the latter wrote his own JFK book, An Unfinished Life
, 2003). The result is nothing short of terrific. The speeches (some are excerpted, some are complete) are grouped chronologically, beginning with the campaign and continuing through the high points of Kennedy's 1,000 days, including the inaugural address, the calls for a Peace Corps and an effort to put a man on the moon, and, of course, the landmark pronouncements during the Cuban missile crisis. But these are just the highlights. There are 32 tracks in all, and they deliver a superb sense of the man and his charismatic style. The insightful commentary adds a powerful complement. For instance, using the pre-presidential speeches as a starting point, the authors set the American stage, discussing what was happening in the country on the verge of the 1960s. Later, when Kennedy tells Americans to ask what they can do for their country, the text makes clear how unusual such presidential calls for sacrifice are (even today). Researchers will find this work invaluable, but more casual readers (and listeners) will be fascinated as well. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved