Why England Slept

15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0313228742
ISBN-10: 0313228744
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Why England Slept + A Nation of Immigrants + Profiles in Courage
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwood Press (October 16, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313228744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313228742
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen VINE VOICE on November 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Written in 1940, "Why England Slept" is a concise examination of the forces during the 1930s that prevented Britain from rearming until war seemed inevitable. Author John F. Kennedy, a 23 year old Harvard graduate at the time of his writing, presents a balanced and in depth analysis with the intention of aiding his country to learn from England's mistakes.

This book intertwines history with political analysis. It seeks to find reasons, not to assign blame. It emphasizes the strong current of pacifism prevalent in Britain and elsewhere in much of Europe during the 1930s. It was this consensus of opinion which prevented Britannia's leaders from leading it into necessary preparations. Peace movements of that era advanced tenets which others would adopt later. The concept that arms lead to war and that unilateral disarmament would ensure peace would, after nearly costing the West its life, be resurrected during the Cold War. This work also points out how attitudes toward Germany changed during the decade. The Versailles Treaty had cut Germany down to size, in part, by granting independence to Austria and placing millions of Germans in Italy, Czechoslovakia and Poland. An appreciation gradually grew that the Versailles borders would not be perpetual and that some adjustment in Germany's favor was reasonable. For that reason, Hitler's early demands were afforded a hearing in England until increasing German aggression turned public opinion against its authors. As public opinion stiffened, so did British resolve to stand up to aggressors. Only then did rearmament have the political support to make it a a reality. England was then in a race for its life. Germany's clandestine preparation for aggression gave it a two year lead over its more peaceful rivals.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Paula D. Matuskey on December 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
First let me say I've been a fan of JFK for many years. And yet I had never read this book. As the 40th anniversary of his death approached, I decided to read this book and was stunned by how wise his analysis was of the British situation prior to WWII. His observations about Churchill were quite right, and his assessment of why England hung back when other parts of Europe were falling was so clear and correct, that I had to keep reminding myself that this was written in 1940. I also could see how he used these observations to craft his own view of foreign policy and defense for when he became President. I'm glad I read this book. It's well worth the time.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Waynes Word on June 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have read 2 of JFK's books -- A Nation Of Immigrants & Profiles In Courage (both in papperback)! They have been a part of my home library for over 35 years!
What I find intriguing is that both of these books have always been available at major retail bookstores! (For example) Today, I can go into any Barnes & Noble retail store and find paperback copies of these two books for under $20. However, JFK's Why England Slept seems to have never undergone any similar paperback (nor hard cover) re-prints! It's always been, and still is, hard to find a copy. My public library has both 'Profiles In Courage' & 'A Nation Of Immigrants,' but does not offer Why England Slept! The only copies available are on the internat (Amazon & Ebay, etc), but they sell for $50 to $100 a copy! ???????????
I find this to be a very intriguing mystery for a book written by a very popular U.S. President! I have heard rumors that the book contains information that the "Anglo-American Establishment' wants censored!
I haven't heard any alternate explanations as to why this book is so hard to find and sooooooo expensive to purchase!
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Scamp Lumm on February 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover

How can I say that? The book is dated, published in1940, originally JFK's senior thesis at Harvard.

I have to admit, as a young girl, part of my attraction to JFK, RFK and others of this family, was their amazing good looks and charisma revealed in so many photographs within a multitude of magazines and film reels of their public speeches.

However, actually reading what they have written and looking at the subject matter that they chose for their published books, I am struck by the depth of their intellect and grateful for their insights into topics of such great importance to our country and for the world. Even if they didn't write a word of their books, which I highly doubt, it can be said at least, that they surely were wise in their instruction and the person(s) they chose to write them.

This book was written to analyze what was happening within England before WWII began for them and in order to explain why they were so ill-equipped for the war when it started. Year by year up to 1940, JFK reveals the major events worldwide, the sentiments expressed by the British political parties and public, and the policies that resulted which affected munitions' numbers. Yet far from being a drab accountant's ledger of munitions numbers, JFK's book reveals his perceptive instinct which is surely a requisite character trait of someone who would receive for 1000 days the greatest power in office from one of the greatest countries in the world.

The title for this review was taken from a speech JFK never delivered as he was to speak at the Dallas Trade Mart that last day. The speech is really beautiful. Here are some excerpts:

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