Previous biographies of John F. Kennedy have been based almost entirely on newspaper files and personal recollections. Geoffrey Perret's Jack is both the first comprehensive one-volume biography of JFK and the first account of his life based on the extensive and important documentary record that has finally become available, including Kennedy's personal diaries, hundreds of hours of taped conversations from the White House, recently declassified government documents, extensive family correspondence, and crucial interviews sealed for nearly forty years. The result is a gripping, accurate, and ultimately moving portrait of America's most charismatic president.
Jack provides much-needed context and perspective on Kennedy's bewilderingly complex personality. It offers an even-handed account of the seamy side of his life - orgies and abortions, health and drug problems - along with valuable insights into JFK's truly idealistic and visionary character.
Jack presents a compelling account of the volatile relationship between Kennedy and his wife, including Jackie's attempt to divorce him, move to Hollywood, and become a film star. At the same time Perret explains how, together, they created the Kennedy style.
Jack reveals how the restless, innovative Kennedy was able to overturn more than a hundred years of political tradition, forge the modern political campaign, and, once in the White House, modernize the presidency. His success was so complete that all serious presidential candidates since 1960 have sought to compare themselves to JFK, not challenging his legacy but embracing it.
Jack is filled, too, with numerous revelations, such as the true story behind the lobotomy of JFK's sister Rosemary. And here, for the first time, is a comprehensive account of Kennedy's numerous and varied ailments from childhood on, including his back problems.
Perret describes how JFK got the two most important decisions of his administration right: his handling of the Cuban missile crisis and his stance on civil rights. As to Vietnam, Kennedy did not believe it was worth fighting for, and in the last months of his presidency he began formulating a secret plan for neutralization and withdrawal - if he won the 1964 election. But that, of course, was not to be: Convinced he would die young, Kennedy foresaw that a violent death would claim him. Throughout his brief time in the White House he was haunted by a vision of a man standing at a window, looking down at him, holding a rifle.
Jack: A Life Like No Other is a book like no other. Here, at last, John F. Kennedy seems to step off the page in all his vitality, charm, and originality.
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|Title of eBook: Jack|
|Release Date: 11-06-2001|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Chapter OneQuestion Mark
It is close to noon on May 29, 1917, and uncomfortably cold for the time of year as Dr. Frederick Good drives through Boston to attend Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy. The streets still glisten from yesterday's thunderstorms and the thermometer shows 48 degrees. Those children born here today will be the first citizens of a new America, for this city, part Anglican and Brahmin, part Irish and Catholic, eternally proud of being the cradle of the American Revolution, is once again at war.
Every one of the big downtown stores has a window display promoting the Liberty Loan, and in Filene's main window stands a full-size replica of the Liberty Bell. A few blocks farther along Washington Street, Gordon's Olympia is showing The British War. Posters outside promise "Thrilling scenes of warfare. Men steeled for battle and death, leaping into action with daring abandon ..."
On Boston Common, red, white and blue bunting shivers at the lampposts, and the Ninth Infantry Regiment has set up a tent for enrolling recruits. Not far from the tent stands the Shepherd store on Tremont Street, with a large sign out front that reads: your old gloves-for the white glove society, every particle of the glove is used to advantage; the larger pieces are sewn together to make windproof waistcoats for soldiers and sailors ... These days, live performances in the theaters along Boylston Street feature a fifteen-minute harangue by pitchmen rousing theatergoers to do their patriotic duty and buy the first issue of the Liberty Loan. A good pitchman can make buying a $50 war bond seem the moral equivalent of going over the top at the front. "Hang...