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

Superb Research & Writing / Mediocre Narration

Chris Matthews creates an excellent portrait of JFK with great nuggets of independent research. Well written, the book provides a superb view of a man and his time. Timeless political lessons are presented which have relevance in today’s “flat,” Internet fueled world. The blend of historical fact and appropriate interpretation makes for a story that can’t be put down. It is clear that the author knows his stuff . . . and how to tell a story. GREAT book.

Unfortunately the narration contains several “ouch” moments. It seems that nobody took the time to “proof” the final product. Butchering names such as Harold Stassen, Averell Harriman, and Bernard Baruch show that the narrator and production supervisor weren’t alive when these were household words. IMHO Chris Matthews would have been much better off reading the entire book himself. He did an excellent job narrating the introduction and should have finished the job. Certainly he’d have known how to pronounce the names properly.
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- Dolf

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

Book Details

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