An original and illuminating narrative revealing John F. Kennedy's lasting influence on America, by the acclaimed political analyst Larry J. Sabato.
John F. Kennedy died half a century ago - yet because of his extraordinary promise and untimely death, his star still resonates strongly. On the anniversary of his assassination, celebrated political scientist and analyst Larry J. Sabato - himself a teenager in the early 1960s and inspired by JFK and his presidency - explores the fascinating and powerful influence he has had over five decades on the media, the general public, and especially on each of his nine presidential successors.
A recent Gallup poll gave JFK the highest job approval rating of any of those successors, and millions remain captivated by his thousand days in the White House. For all of them, and for those who feel he would not be judged so highly if he hadn't died tragically in office, The Kennedy Half-Century will be particularly revealing. Sabato reexamines JFK's assassination using heretofore unseen information to which he has had unique access, then documents the extraordinary effect the assassination has had on Americans of every modern generation through the most extensive survey ever undertaken on the public's view of a historical figure. The full and fascinating results, gathered by the accomplished pollsters Peter Hart and Geoff Garin, paint a compelling portrait of the country a half-century after the epochal killing. Just as significantly, Sabato shows how JFK's presidency has strongly influenced the policies and decisions - often in surprising ways - of every president since.
Among the hundreds of books devoted to JFK, The Kennedy Half-Century stands apart for its rich insight and original perspective. Anyone who reads it will appreciate in new ways the profound impact JFK's short presidency has had on our national psyche.
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Job Well Done
Strong Account of Kennedy Presidency and Death
I would, in time. It has some depth and length, so I wouldn't call it a page-turner, but if you're interested in the subject matter I can certainly see giving it a repeat listen.
Sabato's even-handed look at the Nixon crimes and the Kennedy clan's own unethical behavior was interesting. Sabato also details the media's protection of Kennedy, and contrasts that with the present state of the American press. I think Sabato did a good job in highlighting how much questionable behavior by Kennedy has been overlooked even in the modern era, but without using it to disparage his capabilities as a leader or his positive influence.
The performance was problematic for me. The narration was a little "mushy" overall, like he was sitting and speaking too closely into a microphone at times. That was distracting, but wouldn't justify a low rating on its own. My biggest problem was with Kayser's bizarre cadence and timing. He would intermittently pause in sentences that resulted in the impression that Sabato's book was filled with hundreds of randomly placed commas. Frequently, the pauses were soon before or after commas, which Kayser also paused for, making the entire performance disjointed and very confusing if you aren't paying close attention (listening in a car, for example).For example, this sentence would be, the type of issue I am, talking about.