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

Most Helpful

Little less Profile and More Courage...

"A man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures — and that is the basis of all human morality.”
― John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage

It is now almost tradition that presidential candidates will publish a book prior to campaigning for the highest elected office. Profiles in Courage, however, was one of the earliest and most successful of these campaign books. While Kennedy largely wrote the beginning the end of the book, the profiles of the senators profiled in this book were largely written by Ted Sorenson.

The book also won the Pulitzer Prize, but when viewed objectively is best seen as more hype than history. This doesn't mean the book isn't good and interesting. It certainly was brilliant in providing more light and more prestige on this young Senator from Massachusetts, but it is hard to also take the book completely serious as history. Perhaps, I'm too cynical. Perhaps, I'm too narrow, but it seems more contrived than commendable, more packaged than pleasurable, and more directed at increasing Kennedy's profile than increasing American courage.*

* This comes from a comment often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt that she wished "Kennedy had a little less profile and more courage".
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"


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 "I am an avid eclectic reader."

Book Details

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