Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero

  • by Chris Matthews
  • Narrated by Holter Graham
  • 13 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

“What was he like?”
Jack Kennedy said the reason people read biographies is to answer that basic question. With the verve of a novelist, Chris Matthews gives us just that. We see this most beloved president in the company of friends. We see and feel him close-up, having fun and giving off that restlessness of his. We watch him navigate his life from privileged, rebellious youth to gutsy American president. We witness his bravery in war and selfless rescue of his PT boat crew. We watch JFK as a young politician learning to play hardball and watch him grow into the leader who averts a nuclear war.
What was he like, this person whose own wife called him “that elusive, unforgettable man”? The Jack Kennedy you discover here wanted never to be alone, never to be bored. He loved courage, hated war, lived each day as if it were his last.
Chris Matthews’ extraordinary biography is based on personal interviews with those closest to JFK, oral histories by top political aide Kenneth O’Donnell and others, documents from his years as a student at Choate, and notes from Jacqueline Kennedy’s first interview after Dallas. You’ll learn the origins of his inaugural call to “Ask what you can do for your country.” You’ll discover his role in the genesis of the Peace Corps, his stand on civil rights, his push to put a man on the moon, his ban on nuclear-arms testing. You’ll get, more than ever before, to the root of the man, including the unsettling aspects of his personal life.
As Matthews writes, “I found a fighting prince never free of pain, never far from trouble, never accepting the world he found, never wanting to be his father’s son. He was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know.”

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What Might Have Been?

What you'll get is well-researched information on what formed this pragmatic man, the life-style that hard-wired his thinking process, the extent of the physical, and tremendous emotional tribulations, that shaped his values, the experiences of friends and people he allowed to get a little close--written by an author that openly professes to admire his subject matter. That's what you'll get here...no political slants, no new secrets that hint at what might have been, no sensational tales from a blindsided wife. Kennedy remains as elusive as ever, (as does Mona Lisa's smile) but the insights to this family, and the potentially devastating historical moments were good, sometimes chilling, reading. Upon finishing, I was not consumed with the folly of asking myself 'what might have been'; instead I ask 'what could be.'
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- Mel

What Do We Want From A President?

I was born 9 years after the death of President Kennedy. Having recently read Stephen King’s new novel “11.22.63” I was interested to take a closer look at our 35th President.

I’m not an ardent Chris Matthews fan; while I tend to lean to the left, I find his show to be a little one-sided for my taste. Since I know he is a huge fan of this President, I wasn’t sure if the book might be a bit one sided as well; but it was not. It was a fascinating look at a very multi-faceted politician.

What do we want from a President? I thought I had a general idea of what *I* wanted, but this book made me question a great deal of my previous beliefs. For me, this book crystallized the idea that when it comes to the Presidency, perhaps some of the same qualities that I might normally consider unpleasant actually contribute to someone being an effective leader. I ended this book with a lot of new questions about my own opinions and beliefs, and I think that’s never a bad thing.

While I have always liked books narrated by Holter Graham, this book was not meant to be read by him. It was meant to be read by Chris Matthews, who wrote the book. I have no idea why Mr. Matthews did not narrate (he did record the forward to the book) but it was to the books detriment.

In short, I learned a great deal and the book gave me a lot to think about. I recommend it heartily.
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- Amanda "I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-01-2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio