Profiles in Courage

  • by John F. Kennedy
  • Narrated by John F. Kennedy Jr., Caroline Kennedy
  • 3 hrs and 10 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"This is a book about that most admirable of human virtues - courage. 'Grace under pressure', Ernest Hemingway defined it. And these are the stories of the pressures experienced by eight United States senators and the grace with which they endured them." (John F. Kennedy)
During 1954-1955, John F. Kennedy, then a US senator, chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.
Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1957, Profiles in Courage - now reissued, featuring a new introduction by Caroline Kennedy as well as Robert Kennedy's foreword written for the memorial edition of the volume in 1964 - resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. It is, as Robert Kennedy states in the foreword, "not just stories of the past but a hook of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us".

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Customer Reviews

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Inspiring

I read this book back in the 1960s. I saw this abridged audiobook on Audible and decided to use it for a review of the book. I normally do not like abridged books but I have found them useful as a quick review of a book I had read years ago and want to refresh my memory.

This book was written in 1955 about the most admirable of human virtues -courage. The author provided a brief discussion of eight United States Senators in their moment of courage. JFK doesn’t say that each act of courage was successful or even right. They acted and stood by their conscience belief of what was best for the country. I was most familiar with the story of John Quincy Adams, but the story of Thomas Hart Benton was unknown to me. The courage of Daniel Webster was remarkable, knowing the stand he took for the country would ruin his political career, but he did it anyway because he believed it was best for the country.

The forward was by Carolyn Kennedy. The book won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize. The book was narrated by John F. Kennedy Jr.

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- Jean

Inspiring history, mediocre writing. Feels dated.

I wanted to love this. It was written by JFK, a hero to me. It was read by his son. And these days, there are too few courageous statesmen. The problem is that JFK is not a great writer. The people he writes about are worthy of praise, but his writing does not make them come alive. Biographies have gotten so good these days, many are page-turners. I loved Unger's recent bio of John Quincy Adams. Kennedy's portrait of him was so flat in comparison. While one can do more in a full book, the New Yorker has amazing portraits of similar length to the portraits in Profiles of Courage. If you want inspirational history, read the Unger book, or McCullough's John Adams or Truman. Or White's American Ulysses. As a narrator, John Kennedy Jr. was pretty good for a non-professional, but he was not as good as the pros. While I am glad that I listened to this, I found myself thinking more about the new FDR bio that I want to read. That said, I loved the concept behind Profiles of Courage - stories of politicians that put the good of the country first.
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- Mark

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-09-2016
  • Publisher: HarperAudio