- Series: Harper Perennial Political Classics
- Paperback: 800 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Hardcover first edition edition (October 20, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006196784X
- ISBN-13: 978-0061967849
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.3 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Kennedy: The Classic Biography (Harper Perennial Political Classics) Paperback – October 20, 2009
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From the Back Cover
Ted Sorensen knew Kennedy the man, the senator, the candidate, and the president as no other associate did. From his hiring as a legislative assistant to Kennedy's death in 1963, Sorensen was with him during the key crises and turning points—including the spectacular race for the vice presidency at the 1956 convention, the launching of Kennedy's presidential candidacy, the TV debates with Nixon, and election night at Hyannis Port. The first appointment made by the new president was to name Ted Sorensen his Special Counsel.
In Kennedy, Sorensen recounts failures as well as successes with surprising candor and objectivity. He reveals Kennedy's errors on the Bay of Pigs, and his attitudes toward the press, Congress, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Sorensen saw firsthand Kennedy's actions in the Cuban missile crises, and the evolution of his beliefs on civil rights and arms control. First published in 1965 and reissued here with a new preface, Kennedy is an intimate biography of an extraordinary man, and one of the most important historical accounts of the twentieth century.
About the Author
Ted Sorensen was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and after law school moved to Washington, D.C., where he would ultimately work for John F. Kennedy. He left the White House soon after JFK's death, and in 1966 joined a New York City law firm, where, as a prominent international lawyer, he advised governments, multinational organizations, and major corporations around the world. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History. Sorensen remained active in political and international issues until his death in 2010.
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Ted Sorensen was obviously very close to JFK, and as the comments made by Sorensen at the beginning of the book seemed "over the top" in his praise of JFK, I was concerned about the objectivity of this book. Also, with a work consisting of over 800 pages, I feel that from the standpoint of the casual reader that much of the detail could have been omitted.
I did give this book four stars based upon the research which Sorensen had to do, even though he was close to Kennedy during the time covered in this book.
Ted is on the cover (partially) but Sorensen's tone toward him makes it seem like he's the black sheep rather than, as he turned out to be, well within the proud Kennedy bros. traditions of liberal causes, championing the underdog and devotion to public service. It seems this should have been clear by the time this book was written (the 1990s) but Sorensen seems cautiously calculating it to a particular audience who doesn't think highly of Teddy.
There is a lot of repetition here. Not so much repetition of personal anecdotes, but of the "legacy" ideas. In some ways, the focus is really Bobby and his legacy--how he changed through the years. That part is actually interesting enough that I think that's the book he should have written--a biography of Bobby using things he knew, info from the family, then along the way describing his relationships with his brothers.
As it is, this book is too rambling and disjointed--almost, I would say, disorganized--and lacks a core of what makes Sorensen books special--his personal history with the Kennedy family for decades and his ability as a writer. It's not a bad book, and it's worth reading like all his books are, but it just feels incomplete or hurried through somehow.
Sorensen"s book is 758 pages long and exhaustive. I recommend it for anyone who has serious interest in John F. Kennedy, the man and the political climate in late "50s and early 60's.