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The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (American Presidency Series) Paperback – February 20, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0700614578 ISBN-10: 0700614575 Edition: 2 Revised

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The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (American Presidency Series) + The Presidency of Harry S. Truman (American Presidency (Univ of Kansas Paperback)) + The Presidency of Richard Nixon (American Presidency (Univ of Kansas Paperback))
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Product Details

  • Series: American Presidency Series
  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas; 2 Revised edition (February 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700614575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700614578
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #841,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Brisk, solid survey of a brief and controversial presidency, by Giglio (History/Southwest Missouri State Univ.). Elected with virtually no mandate in what Giglio says was a stolen election, Kennedy managed in his ``thousand days'' to put his stamp on the American reality. He soon forged his mandate, Giglio points out, by media mastery and by using supreme political skills that allowed him to give the appearance of firm, virtuous positions while keeping options open as he successfully identified himself with causes (civil rights, anti-imperialism) that in reality he accepted only shallowly, and avoided acting on. Judging gently, supporting his views with precise, well-integrated evidence, Giglio gives a relatively unbiased picture of JFK. We see the future President begin as his father's creature, supported every step of the way by money, influence, and manipulation, and grow into a man learning from traumatic confrontations with Khrushchev (in Vienna) and with American blacks (at a breakfast that left him virtually speechless). Kennedy's Achilles' heel--his unproductive relationship with Congress--is plainly drawn, but his judgment on the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis are not seriously faulted, while his creation of the Peace Corps is seen as genuinely historic. Most interestingly, Giglio documents JFK's lifelong physical frailty, superbly concealed in the mythology of the war hero and athlete. A victim of Addison's disease (not to mention satyriasis) for years, Kennedy came close to death as a young man and was also in constant, uncorrectable back pain, often severe. Regularly injected with steroids and pain-killers, he was also receiving, until his death, amphetamine shots from a notorious doctor-to-the-stars. A balanced and thoughtful account that avoids the hagiography or damnation of so many other JFK bios, revealing the man in all his complexity, from his wily, hypnotic charm to his political decisiveness when it could not be avoided. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"A balanced and thoughtful account that reveals the man in all his complexity." -- Kirkus

"This book is more than merely interesting; its narrations of the major crises of the Kennedy presidency are riveting." -- American Historical Review

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
While it was shorter than most, that did not prevent the Kennedy presidency from being eventful, even without including the tragic end. The closest the world ever came to thermonuclear war was during the Cuban missile crisis, which is still a model for the management of a crisis between great powers. And the greatest public failure of a CIA sponsored action was the disastrous invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.
While necessarily short, the description of the Cuban missile crisis was still amazing to read, as the hawkish position of the U. S. military commanders was clearly a harbinger of the same policy of ratcheting up the force that failed so badly in Vietnam. Some, although not all, of the commanders were for massive force, thinking that it would so intimidate the Cubans that it would be all over quickly. This event is one of the strongest arguments in favor of political control over the military and Kennedy showed himself to be strong-willed in doing all he could to find a political solution that allowed the Soviets a face-saving way to retreat.
Given all that has happened since then, it is amazing to be reminded that in the early years of the Kennedy administration the country in Southeast Asia that was considered most likely to fall under communist control was Laos. Here again, Kennedy showed himself willing to do whatever it took to find a political settlement. He was most reluctant to commit American combat forces in Southeast Asia, considering it dangerous and fraught will all kinds of unknown consequences.
This backdrop brings up the natural question as to whether Kennedy would have followed the path in Vietnam that Lyndon Johnson did. Giglio avoids spending a great deal of time on that continuous point of contention.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "daniel_sp" on July 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is neither an uncritical appraisal of Kennedy nor a damning account. Rather, the author has managed to give a critical but not biased view of Kennedy's presidency. Naturally, this involves disproving a couple of myths about "Camelot". I had to read this book for a university course about Kenndey's presidency and can recommend it to anyone interested in a fair account.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Kirk VINE VOICE on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've read a few of these books from this series of presidents and this one is extremely through and deep. The author did a wonderful job of extracting deep, dark details of major events in JFK's years. A great look into our relationship with Russia and the civil rights struggle in America, this book is very fair to not be too negative or positive. Also, I did enjoy his summary of JFK's impact on society and it helped me understand most people's found memory of this president.
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