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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian takes us as close as we have ever been to the real John F. Kennedy in this revelatory biography of the iconic, yet still elusive, 35th president.

By the time of his assassination in 1963, John F. Kennedy stood at the helm of the greatest power the world had ever seen. Born in 1917 to a striving Irish American family that had become one of Boston's wealthiest, Kennedy knew political ambition from an early age, and his meteoric rise to become the youngest elected president cemented his status as one of the most mythologised figures in modern history. And while hagiographic portrayals of his dazzling charisma, reports of his extramarital affairs and disagreements over his political legacy have come and gone in the decades since his untimely death, these accounts all fail to capture the full person.

Beckoned by this gap in our historical knowledge, Harvard Professor Fredrik Logevall has spent much of the last decade combing through material unseen or unused by previous biographers, searching for and piecing together the 'real' John F. Kennedy. The result of this prodigious effort is a sweeping two-volume biography that for the first time properly contextualises Kennedy's role in the international events of the 20th century. This volume spans the first 39 years of JFK's life - from birth through his decision to run for president - to reveal his early relationships, his formative and heroic experiences during World War II, his ideas, his best-selling writings, his political aspirations and the role of his father, wartime ambassador to Britain. In examining these pre-White House years, Logevall shows us a more serious, independently minded Kennedy than we've previously known.

In chronicling Kennedy's extraordinary life and times, with authority and novelistic sensibility, putting the listener in every room where it happened, this landmark work offers the clearest portrait we have of a remarkable figure who still inspires individuals around the world.

©2020 Fredrik Logevall (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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  • Lars H
  • 06-10-20

Lacking in pronounciation and biography

Terrible pronounciation of French and German names and expressions. Hagiographical on JFK, described as ridicusly superhuman but with some health issues. Good as a semi-fictional experience and background description of American society and its institutions.

Trivia: Shortly after JFK's asassination 60% claimed they voted for him, some years later 65% claimed the same. The true share that voted for JFK was 49%.

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  • E P
  • 29-09-20

Warts and all biography

Lots of information about JFK that I was not aware of. His treatment of Jackie is shocking early in their marriage. Joseph Kennedy gets a more gentle treatment than that old rouge is entitled to. He Author assumes the reader has no knowledge of WW2, so there are superfluous passages explaining the course of the war, that are not always accurate. However, when the book comes to describe Boston politics, McCarthyism, his Senate Race and the failed attempt to get the Democratic Vice Presidential nomination this book goes up several gears. I am looking forward to Volume 2.

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  • Book Club Mavis
  • 28-04-21

fascinating

Excellent book, immense detail and so interesting to learn about this icon of us politics. can't wait for the next instalment.

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  • Keith
  • 19-03-21

Wonderful

Epic biography. The degree to which he gets under the skin of JFK, particularly his early years and this volume is almost in addition a biography of Joseph P Kennedy and their ancestors. You really get a sense of who Jack is, in all his genius, his familial sensibilities, his friendships and of course his negatives.

Didn’t want it to finish and can’t wait for volume 2. Brilliantly read.

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  • Jay dee
  • 25-01-21

Great insight into before he was president

Best history book I’ve had for a long time, good narrator, very easy listening considering it’s not a “page turner”.

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  • MR M G FITZPATRICK
  • 06-12-20

Fantastic

Narrator was brilliant, interesting voice and clear articulation.
Book really marvellous, brought it all to life. Changed my opinion on Joe (senior), much more impressive and substantial figure than I had realised. When his kids needed him he was there and he let them think for themselves.
Really recommend.

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  • CC
  • 03-10-20

Gripping

This book is very well written and very easy to listen to.

I cranked the speed up to 3x and it was even better.

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  • Richard
  • 11-11-20

What a disappointment

Too effusive and biased towards JFF. Thank goodness I don’t live in the US. Reading this at a time of total confusion in America I suppose we all have to have our heroes. JFK isn’t one of mine. Falsely subtitled as the American Century one can only wonder how dysfunctional American politics is. It is full of hype, and lacking in substance. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. How can JFK not become President? He had money, influence and powerful people to support him. No doubt that he had bad physical problems, but I think his personal life was reprehensible. I suppose it is all about double standards and the Hollywood effect of American politics. You can have it! As an aside the book is full of basic factual errors such as Italy fighting on the Axis side in WW1.