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JACK KENNEDY: Elusive Hero Hardcover – November 1, 2011
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“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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Chris Matthews is the anchor of MSNBC’s Hardball. He is the author of Bobby; Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked; Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero; American; Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think; Kennedy and Nixon; and Hardball.
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Top Customer Reviews
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"
Chris Matthews shows us a Jack Kennedy who had a frosty relationship with his mother, while being willing to be his own man rather than do his father's bidding in political matters. He looked up to his older brother Joseph, and grew closer to younger brother Bobby when they campaigned together for Jack's political offices. Author Matthews aptly illustrates the PT 109 saga in which Kennedy was responsible for saving lives after being attacked by a Japanese destroyer. This, incidentally, took place on August 2, 1943, the day I was born.
Both author Matthews and Kennedy shared a love for reading about history. A good portion of the book is spent on political campaigns both in securing the Democratic nomination for President, and his razor-thin victory over Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential campaign. We are also provided with anecdotes regarding President Eisenhower, Adlai Stevenson, his relationship with wife Jacqueline Kennedy, and numerous others.
President Kennedy was a complex man who, like all of us, had his faults. However, often overlooked is that he broke down racial and religious barriers, while reaching out to the poor and those with mental illness. He stood up to the Russians during the Cuban Missile Crisis when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev decided to test this young whippersnapper in the White House. What he would have done regarding Vietnam had he lived we are left to wonder.
I respect author Chris Matthews as a political commentator, and I found his book to be very readable and enjoyable. I believe you will come away with a greater understanding of President Kennedy after having read his book.