- Paperback: 848 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (May 4, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316907928
- ISBN-13: 978-0316907927
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 237 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917 - 1963 Paperback – May 4, 2004
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"Comprehensive, judicious, evenhanded, original. An Unfinished Life has the sober judgment and nuanced accuracy that make it ring true in all the controversial and tricky parts."―Jack Newfield, Los Angeles Times
"An intimate portrait indeed . . . unexpected and important. . . . This is nothing if not a profile in courage."―Ted Widmer, New York Times Book Review
"It's hard to believe that someone could find anything new to say about John F. Kennedy, but Dallek succeeds in this riveting and well-documented biography."―The New Yorker
"One of the most engrossing biographies I have ever read. . . . An Unfinished Life is nothing less than a masterpiece."―David Herbert Donald, author of Lincoln
"Neither debunking nor further mythologizing, Dallek fashions a balanced but fast-paced tale of sex and power that scribes from Shakespeare to Jacqueline Susann would have killed for."―Steve Dougherty, People
About the Author
Robert Dallek is one of the most highly regarded historians in America today and the author of more than a dozen books, including his two-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson, Lone Star Rising and Flawed Giant, and Nixon and Kissinger. Currently a faculty member at Stanford University's prestigious Washington program, he has also taught at Boston University, Columbia University, UCLA and Oxford.
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Professor Dallek spends much page space relating the endless physical ailments and treatments JFK endured for his entire life. While in a general sense I was aware of his back problems I didn't realize the extent of his illnesses before reading this.
The most remarkable realization that this book delivered to me was the understanding of the number of issues and dilemmas that he faced as president in such a short compressed period of time- Berlin, Cuba, Southeast Asia, CIvil Rights, Recession, nuclear proliferation all demanding his attention concurrently. I think the book does a good job of giving each the attention and detail required to assess Kennedy's handling of the situations but what it left me with was an appreciation once again of how volatile both foreign and domestic issues were in the early 1960s even though I lived through them as a young kid.
Interestingly the assassination is handled rather briefly in just a few pages ( I imagine because so much has already been written of it) and the author chose instead to move directly into an assessment of JFK's legacy. Overall this was a fascinating look at a leader who rose to the challenges that his time in office produced and raises interesting questions about how a potential second Kennedy term would have played out.
Outstanding Biography that I recommend to anyone interested in the period.
A must read for Kennedy followers, also check out Dallek's other books and look up Chris Matthews who's father was one of President Kennedy's Advisors.