Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero

Chris Matthews. Simon & Schuster, $27.50 (448p) ISBN 978-1-4516-3508-9
Out of his gut interest in politics and love of reading biographies of American heroes, Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball, probes the details of the 35th president’s life and career to find out what Jack was like. He begins this book wanting to discover how Kennedy became the leader who, at a moment of national fear and anger (the Cuban missile crisis), could cut so coldly and clearly to the truth. Drawing on interviews with friends and former staffers, as well as on such familiar biographical incidents as Kennedy’s rescue of the PT-109 crew and his resulting back injury, Matthews reveals a man who through inner direction and tenacious will created himself out of the loneliness and illness of his youth and who taught himself the hard discipline of politics through his own triumphs and failures. For example, from the Bay of Pigs—considered one of Kennedy’s failures—JFK learned that there must be both clarity and completion when the stakes are highest and most desperate; know your enemy and your goal; and hold fast to what you’re attempting. With this resolve, Kennedy reacted to Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis with a detachment that resisted the easy path of war that others recommended. Matthews’s stirring biography reveals Kennedy as a “fighting prince never free from pain, never far from trouble, and never accepting the world he found.” Photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/22/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
Hardcover - 657 pages - 978-1-4104-4357-1
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-4516-3510-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-4917-9
Compact Disc - 12 pages - 978-1-4423-5045-8
Paperback - 479 pages
Paperback - 655 pages - 978-1-59413-565-1
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