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The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (American Presidency Series) (American Presidency (Univ of Kansas Paperback)) 2 Revised Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0700614578
ISBN-10: 0700614575
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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.

Review

"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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Product Details

  • Series: American Presidency (Univ of Kansas Paperback)
  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas; 2 Revised edition (February 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700614575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700614578
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 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: #560,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer 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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the third book that I have read in the American Presidency Series published by University Press of Kansas. These books are written by reputable scholars who seek to give a factual and balanced assessment of the various presidents. Because these are balanced assessments, I feel confident that these books are good authoritative sources of information. One does not need to be a scholar to enjoy these books.

The book covers all of the major foreign and domestic issues that the Kennedy administration dealt with. Perhaps my least favorite chapter deals with farm legislation. If the reader is a policy wonk in that area, then the reader will find that chapter a joy. Perhaps my favorite chapter deals with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Professor Giglio does a very good job of describing the general mood, and individual emotions, of various participants of the Kennedy administration, as well as the many options they discussed in dealing with this crisis. He clearly shows how the President, along with his staff, matured after the earlier Bay of Pigs fiasco.

I like writing that captures the complexity of an individual's personality. Professor Giglio does an excellent job in this regard in his chapter entitled, "Image and Reality." For example, Kennedy exuded a youthful vigor. In reality, he was very unhealthy. He suffered from a bad back, Addison's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic prostatitis, and high cholesterol, to name a few. The chapter goes on to give many of the differences between the private JFK and his public persona.

Another area that I found interesting was his foreign policy. He really did try to break with the Eisenhower administration's view that so much of the turmoil in the developing world was communist inspired.
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