cover image To Move the World: JFK's Quest for Peace

To Move the World: JFK's Quest for Peace

Jeffrey D. Sachs. Random, $26 (226p) ISBN 978-0-8129-9492-6

UN special advisor Sachs (Price of Civilization) revisits the Cold War challenges facing the Kennedy administration during the Strangelove-ian era between October 1962 and September 1963. In this careful study, Sachs zeroes in on four key speeches Kennedy delivered in the months prior to his assassination in November 1963. Specifically, the book focuses on the American University commencement address known as the Peace Speech, also the theme of the author's Reith Lecture for the BBC six years ago. JFK, together with gifted speechwriter Ted Sorensen%E2%80%94his "intellectual alter ego"%E2%80%94set out a strategy for nations to live in "mutual tolerance", with ramifications that extend into the 21st century. Influenced by the writings of Winston Churchill and Pope John XXIII, the two collaborated to send a message of hope to the Class of 1963. Two weeks later Kennedy flew to Ireland where he delivered this message to members of the Irish Parliament. By July he announced a partial test ban treaty to the nation, and brought this news to the UN General Assembly. While sound bites of the Kennedy-Sorensen collaboration echo in modern classrooms%E2%80%94"Ask not what your country can do for you"%E2%80%94the messages in these four speeches seem all too pertinent today. (June)